Brookes athletes claim Gold in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
In a hugely exciting week of racing, eight Brookes athletes represented Great Britain in multiple crews at the U23 World Championships being held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
After a great build up to finals, several British crews looked to be in contention for fighting alongside the world’s best competition for medals. Having won their Heat, the Men’s Eight with Tom Bryce, Fergus Woolnough, Toby Lassen and Louis Nares who recently claimed glory at Henley Royal Regatta progressed straight to the A-Final. After making a good start in their Final they were in 5th place at 500m. However, with some great pacing and explosive rowing in the middle part of the race the British crew burst through the field to stretch out a lead of 3/4 length to win Gold in a time of 5:26.51.
A special mention should be made of Tom Bryce, who has made an incredible step straight from a junior level into the coxing seat of the U23 M8+. To do this at such a young age is a tremendous achievement. Last year, Will Denegri was the 5th Brookes cox to be continuously selected in the seat of the Coxed Four since 2016. Scott Cockle last year claimed his second U23 Gold medal in a row in the M8+. This is a great show of consistency and the prowess of the Oxford Brookes program nurturing world class coxes. If you are interested in learning more about the importance of coxing at OBUBC then find to the coxing page here.
In another show of the talent at Brookes, Jake Wincomb returned in the Men’s Coulees Four hoping to add to his Gold medal collection from last year’s World Championships. After setting one of the fastest times in the Heats, they progressed to the A-Final after some mature racing in the blistering heat of Plovdiv. Great Britain charged out of the start and despite challenges by Australia and France, GB continued to stretch out their lead in the third 500m and went on to win in a time of 5:47.08.
In another show of how well the Women’s program is developing, Brookes had three female athletes at U23s for the first time in 15 years. Arianna Forde, Grace Richards and Rhianna Sumpter raced in the Women’s VIII. Having won their Heat they progressed straight to their Final on the Sunday. In a fierce race, GB made a good start and were in the fight for medals still at halfway. However, they just missed out in an agonisingly close finish (0.06 seconds!?) with Canada to finish 4th. A hugely credible result considering their season – the entire team hopes to see them at the front of affairs for GB again in a years time.
Some inspirational performances, by all athletes representing Brookes. We look forward to welcoming them all back to Wallingford next season. As the season nears its conclusion there are a few more races to come with U23 European Championships as well as the Senior World Championships. Best of luck to them!
📸 Benedict Tufnell