Grainger back in GB fold for European Rowing Championships

13 May 2015 / 13:26

Olympic champion Katherine Grainger will make her return to international competition after being named in the 50-strong team for European Rowing Championships in Pozan, Poland.

The 39-year-old returned to training last September after stepping away from the sport following her gold-medal double sculls success at London 2012 alongside Anna Watkins.

She has been paired with Vicky Thornley, who beat her in the single scull final at the Great Britain trials in April.

The return of Grainger is just one of number of reshuffles to the British line ups for the event in Poland from May 29-31.

Helen Glover and Polly Swann won European pairs gold last year but with the latter out injured, it means the Olympic gold winning partnership of Glover and Heather Stanning is reunited.

“We anticipate an incredibly tough field this year but the aim is to win medals whilst not losing sight of the main goal which is Rio next year,” said Glover.

There is also a change to the men’s eight with reigning men’s four world champions Mohamed Sbihi, Alex Gregory and George Nash joined by 2014 eights world champions Matt Gotrel, Paul Bennett, Peter Reed, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill, with Stewart Innes also making his international senior debut.

The move means Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell, Tom Ransley, Alan Sinclair and Scott Durant will contest the men’s four as Great Britain look to defend their crown.

James Foad and Matt Langridge remain the specialist pair while Olympic and World medallists Andrew Triggs Hodge and Constantine Louloudis are ruled out of selection- the former through illness while Louloudis is sitting his finals at Oxford University.

Great Britain will be looking for a repeat of last year’s performances which saw them top the medal table in Belgrade, with golds in the men’s four and women’s pair among their eight podium places.

Sir David Tanner, Performance Director for the GB Rowing Team said: “In one sense we have an embarrassment of riches in the open men’s sweep squad, with 11 World Champions and five other World medallists, returning from last year. 

“However, we are not complacent.  This is an Olympic qualifying year and other nations will be stepping up.

“The depth of competition will be stronger and, against that background, we are looking at honing a squad that gives us the best possible chance of qualifying all of our men’s boats for Rio.

“The European Championships are an important event in their own right, too, and everyone selected will also want to add medals and titles there.”

© Sportsbeat 2015