Thornley strikes gold at European Rowing Champs

Vicky Thornley claimed gold on the final day of the European Rowing Championships as she triumphed in the women’s single sculls in Racice, Czech Republic.

Thornley – who won Olympic doubles sculls silver alongside Katherine Grainger in Rio last summer – took home GB’s only gold of the day, although there were a further three bronze medals.

In the women’s single sculls, the 29-year-old Brit held off a late burst from two-time Olympic champion Ekaterina Karsten, 44, of Belarus to cross the line in 7:34.230 minutes, while Germany’s Annekatrin Thiele took third.

Thornley won a World U23 title in Racice back in 2009 and can now add European champion to her list of accomplishments

GB’s first medal of the day came in the women’s quadruple sculls as Holly Nixon, Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Jess Leyden and Beth Bryan moved up from fourth at the halfway stage to take bronze, and almost pinched silver from the Dutch boat – Germany taking gold.

Emily Craig and Kat Copeland also moved from fourth at halfway to cross the line third, in the lightweight women’s double – won by Weronika Deresz & Martyna Mikolajczak of Poland – while Holly Norton and Karen Bennett claimed bronze in the women’s pair, behind Kristyna Fleissnerova & Lenka Antosova of Czech Republic and Danish duo Hedvig Rasmussen & Christina Johansen.

There was disappointment for Great Britain’s other boats, as the likes of the men’s four, featuring Olympic champions Will Satch and Moe Sbihi, finished fifth and the women’s eight faded in the second half of the race to come fourth.

But British Rowing’s performance director Sir David Tanner insists there are positives to build on for the squad.

“With 11 out of our 13 boats in A finals we can be pleased with the breadth of our squad – we’d hoped for a few more medals today, but the four we achieved were very well done,” said Tanner.

“The Europeans are a good early season – and early Olympiad – test, and we’ve a long way to go, with two more World Cups and a late September Worlds to blood our mainly new rowers and build on what we’ve achieved today.”

Sportsbeat 2017