6 September 2018
Clough looks to complete memorable year with World Rowing Championships medal
With a masters from Oxford University, Grace Clough has already enjoyed one significant win this year and now she is out for another at the World Rowing Championships.
The 27-year-old graduated with a masters in sociology and has now turned her attention to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where the best in the world meet next week.
Clough only took up para-rowing in 2013 but became Paralympic champion three years later while she is also a triple world champion in the mixed coxed four boat.
Great Britain are the favourites to win again in Plovdiv and a fourth world gold would complete a remarkable year for Clough – who only just coming back to fitness following a back injury.
“At the start of the season, I handed my thesis in and I found out six weeks ago that I passed,” she said.
The stress has been worth it. I have got one win this season, I just need another one in the boat now.
“I took too much on after Rio. When you have so much stress, getting rid of it is quite hard. I am getting back to my normal ways.
“I think we all just want to go out and do ourselves proud. We have all had to overcome something so this means so much more than a normal race.”
Clough will be joined in the boat by Ollie Stanhope, Daniel Brown and Ellen Buttrick but preparations have not been easy with injury getting in the way.
Yet Clough is confident that when it comes down to it, they can justify their favourites tag.
“Three of the four members from last season have been injured. We have had new people coming in and so it has not been an ideal scenario,” the 27-year-old added.
“But we are producing very good stuff when we get together. When we do have the chance to shine, we are shining brightly so as much as we have a blank canvas we all know that this boat has not lost for a couple of years.
Daniel Brown, Pamela Relph, James Fox, Grace Clough, and Oliver James, won a gold medal in the LTA Mixed Coxed Four at Rio 2016.
“We want to go out and put our own stamp on things. We all have confidence in it. Even though we have not trained in a crew together, we have been training apart.”
Injuries have taken hold throughout the Great Britain camp in the build-up to the championships, with Laurence Whiteley shifted into the men’s single sculls.
Whiteley and Lauren Rowles are the Paralympic champions in the mixed doubles sculls and were expected to make their return to the world stage in Plovdiv.
But Rowles pulled out due to injury and Whiteley now has a chance to make history and become the first ever world champion in the discipline.
It is always a pleasure to race at this level and pull on the GB kit.
“In my event, this is the first season it is at the Worlds.
“We are going into it with the chance of making history, which is very exciting.
“We have known for a long time that we would be in the doubles and then two weeks out that is not the case.
“Suddenly the plan shifts but we have to get up again. It is a very different boat even though it is still sculling so preparations have been rocky. But I am excited to see what I can do.”
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