Stanning backed for a swift return to British team

15 May 2014 / 18:22

British rowing head coach Paul Thompson insists Heather Stanning’s absence from the team for the European Championships is purely a short term measure as they look to get the Olympic champion back up to speed.

Stanning scooped Great Britain’s first medal of the London 2012 Olympics when she took the women’s pairs title alongside partner Helen Glover.

The 29-year-old then returned to active duty with the army, completing a six-month tour of Afghanistan last year in her role as a battery operations officer, before stepping back into a boat in November.

And while going on to win the pair event at the April trials alongside Glover, she was withdrawn from the European team for the Belgrade regatta starting on May 30 after showing signs of fatigue – world champion Polly Swann instead taking her place.

Following the Euros, there are further World Cup regattas in Aiguebelette, France and Lucerne, Switzerland before the World Championships in August and Thompson was quick to stress it was about building Stanning back up gradually.

"The performance and fitness gains were very steep when she returned," said Thompson. "She also put a lot of pressure on herself to be where she wants to be.

"You need to take little steps and she's trying to take big jumps. But most of the time we're holding people back so we can get the balance right so it's not a major thing.

"We have reduced the intensity and volume of her training and we will soon start to build it back up.

"If everything goes well, she should be back after Belgrade.”

Thompson’s words were also echoed by Great Britain’s performance director Sir David Tanner who insisted the long term plan was focused on getting Stanning in perfect shape to defend her Olympic title at Rio 2016.

“It's just a precaution," he said. “We'll get her back soon.

"She trained hard enough, but it is not the same as being with the squad for a year.

“There's no hurry, our whole focus is on the Rio 2016 Olympics. It will take the time it takes."

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