30 August 2019
Two golds for GB at World Rowing Championships
It was a case of two for two as Great Britain’s para-rowers secured gold medals in both of their finals at the World Rowing Championships on Saturday.
The duo of Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley won gold in the PR2 mixed double sculls while Ellen Buttrick, James Fox, Ollie Stanhope, Giedre Rakauskaite and cox Erin Wysocki-Jones took home gold in the PR3 mixed coxed four.
Rowles and Whiteley came through a two-boat tussle with the formidable Dutch duo of Corne de Koning and Annika van der Meer to win in a time of eight minutes 34.950 seconds, despite having been behind their rivals after 1200m.
The pair, who won gold on their Paralympic debut in Rio, have added the missing piece to their resume in the form of World Championships gold, and Rowles believes the reduced expectation on the British duo helps them thrive.
“We were saying yesterday we kind of seem to thrive off being the underdogs coming into competitions,” she said.
“2015, our first season, we came in and won silver against the three-time champions in the Aussies then Rio 2016 we hadn’t been winning all season and then we came in and won there.
“Going into this competition, probably nobody was backing us to win against the Dutch who are two-time champions and have been smashing it all year.
“To go in and win, we probably just thrive off that so maybe we don’t keep up the winning streak next season and go and win in Tokyo.
“Incredible performance there from the Dutch. Every competitor loves that last-minute sprint and it makes it so much more worthy of winning.”
Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley
Injury and form has waivered since Rio but this triumph left Whiteley ecstatic and emotional.
He said: “It’s taken a long time to do that. For me, the first two and a half years of my career were waiting for this one [Lauren] to turn up.
“Then we had a few difficult seasons after the 2016 Games. This has been a long time in the making but we’ve worked as hard as we ever have together as a team for it.
“The result today means everything. Its going to take a while to process. It’s credit to the Dutch, they’ve been formidable since the Games. I look forward to Tokyo, it’s going to be some great racing.”
Their victory was complemented by success in the mixed coxed four with the British boat leading from start to finish in a dominant showing.
Fox said: “I had to take a year out last year, I had hip surgery last March. Recovery wasn’t the smoothest job either, I had my hurdles to get over.
“To be back in the game is awesome. I’m loving it so much, its almost renewed my love for the sport. One more year.
“Our intention was always to qualify for Tokyo. There’s a lot of competition in the field at the moment, a lot of fast boats.
“Very quickly we saw the margins in the first race, purely on times, and it very quickly turned into let’s get a gold medal.”
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