Olympic aim County row­ers set for world cham­pi­onships

Gloucestershire Echo - - SPORT - John TOWNLEY gloslives­[email protected]­plc.com

FOUR Glouces­ter­shire row­ers will com­pete at the World Cham­pi­onships in Aus­tria as Team GB gear up for Tokyo 2020.

Tom Ge­orge, Holly Hill and the Hodgkins-byrne sis­ters, Mathilda and Char­lotte have all been se­lected to rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain in the first op­por­tu­nity to qual­ify boats for next year’s Olympic Games.

The qual­i­fy­ing cham­pi­onships will take place be­tween Au­gust 25 to Septem­ber 1 in Linz, north­ern Aus­tria.

This sea­son’s World Cup cham­pi­ons, the men’s eight, will be rac­ing af­ter claim­ing their first gold medal of the Olympiad and ti­tle last month in Rot­ter­dam.

Ge­orge from Chel­tenham, is part of the men’s eight crew coached by Jur­gen Grob­ler.

A medal­list at ju­nior and Un­der-23 level, Ge­orge made his se­nior in­ter­na­tional de­but at the 2017 World Cup in Switzer­land.

He went on to fin­ish fifth in the men’s pair with Tom Jef­fery at the World Row­ing Cham­pi­onships in 2018. Ge­orge’s crew will be chal­leng­ing for one of only five Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion spots in Linz.

Hill, from Slim­bridge, joins forces with Imo­gen Grant, Emily Craig and Polly Swann in the women’s four, af­ter she re­turned from Rot­ter­dam with bronze in the women’s dou­bles.

A grad­u­ate of Bri­tish Row­ing’s World Class Start pro­gramme, Hill is a dou­ble medal­list at Un­der-23 level and spent her first year at Cam­bridge Univer­sity learn­ing to scull.

The fol­low­ing year she raced in the 2015 Women’s Boat Race. In 2016 Hill and her crew tri­umphed over Ox­ford by 11 lengths, set­ting a new course record in the process.

For­merly at Hart­pury Col­lege, Mathilda Hodgkins-byrne is on the GB Row­ing Team Start pro­gramme.

Mathilda has rep­re­sented her coun­try as a ju­nior and at three suc­ces­sive World Row­ing Un­der-23 Cham­pi­onships - win­ning gold in the women’s dou­ble sculls in her lat­est visit.

Win­ning bronze in a women’s quad crew at the World Cup of the 2017 sea­son, she fol­lowed it up with an­other bronze at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships.

Her sis­ter Char­lotte also came through the renowned row­ing pro­gramme at Hart­pury and is a dou­ble world Un­der-23 cham­pion sculler look­ing to make her mark in Aus­tria.

Char­lotte stepped in as a late re­place­ment in the women’s quad and pow­ered to gold by nearly a length in 2017. In the same year, she man­aged three suc­ces­sive golds at the World Row­ing Un­der-23 Cham­pi­onship. A year later, she took her sec­ond Un­der-23 gold by win­ning the dou­ble sculls.

Mathilda and Char­lotte will com­pete for women’s quadru­ple sculls.

Bri­tish Row­ing Di­rec­tor of Per­for­mance Bren­dan Pur­cell said: “Fol­low­ing this sea­son’s World Cup se­ries, we’ve se­lected a team that we’re con­fi­dent is ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing for the Olympic and Par­a­lympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion places avail­able.

“We’re in a great po­si­tion fol­low­ing our train­ing camps, where the crews have been step­ping up their per­for­mances day by day.”

Slim­bridge’s Holly Hill, right, with Polly Swann

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