The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
Scots rowers set to feature in record numbers
OLYMPICS: But Grainger likely to miss out as British rowing team named
A record number of Scots will be named in the British rowing Olympic team today when the formal team announcement is made in Henley.
However, Scotland’s Olympic champion Katherine Grainger is liable to be disappointed and may not feature.
Chief among those being named will be Scottish Rowing’s other Olympic champion, Lossiemouth’s Heather Stanning, who has kept an unbeaten European and world partnership with Helen Glover in women’s pairs since they won Britain’s first gold medals in any sport at the 2012 London Games.
Other certainties include Edinburgh’s Polly Swann, who has made a welcome recovery from injury to feature in the European champion women’s eight; and Glasgow’s Commonwealth champion Angus Groom, who has become a mainstay of the men’s quadruple sculls crew this season.
Grainger, reigning Olympic champion in double sculls, who also holds three Olympic silver medals and six world titles, returned to training last year after taking two seasons off in the wake of her Olympic triumph.
She immediately forged a new double sculls partnership with Vicky Thornley.
But, after having to settle for bronze in last year’s European championships, they struggled through the rest of last season and finished fifth at the World Championships.
This season they were fourth in the European Championships, after which their partnership was disbanded.
Both were given the chance to try out for places in the eight but, after closeddoor trials, a GB rowing spokesperson confirmed they had failed in that quest.
GB Rowing confirmed yesterday that there was still a place for a British double scull in the Olympic line-up and emphasised that, while initial team announcements will be made today, final nominations of named athletes will not be needed by the Olympic Games until mid-July, leaving the door ajar for Grainger.
Asked yesterday what was happening, Grainger was only prepared to say: “We’re still in the middle of decisions and looking at options, so I won’t be speaking to anyone just yet about it all.”
Other Scots in the melting pot for inclusion are Inverness’s Alan Sinclair, who took bronze at last year’s world championships and has featured strongly in this year’s men’s Olympic squad, and Edinburgh’s Helen Bennett, who took a world silver last year and seems likely to be included in the initial women’s eights selection.
Two other outstanding Scottish performers – Kirriemuir’s world champion Sam Scrimgeour and Inverness’s former European champion Imogen Walsh – seem likely to just miss out, as neither has been able to make the step up into Olympic-class boats within the GB squad set-up.