THE British men’s eight took gold in the last final of this year’s World Rowing Championships in Gungju, Korea yesterday, defeating Olympic and defending world champions Germany, but there was no podium place for Victoria Meyer-Laker from Premney in Aberdeenshire, the last of the five Scots in action in the GB team.
The British team finished the Championships event with three golds and five bronze medals to rank third overall, behind Italy and Australia, with all five Scots on the team reaching their “A” finals.
Two of the medal-winning British crews had Scots aboard. On Friday, Forfar’s Sam Scrimgeour took bronze in lightweight pairs along with Mark Aldred, but the stand-out Scottish performance came on Saturday when, making her debut at World Championships level, Edinburgh’s Polly Swann – who was forced to sit out the London Olympic Games because of injury – partnered Olympic champion Helen Glover in coxless pairs to what was the first world title for both athletes.
Glover and Swann came together at the start of this year, with Swann replacing Glover’s Olympic champion partner, Heather Stanning, from Lossiemouth. After famously winning Britain’s first gold medal of the London Games, Stanning resumed her career as an army captain, and is currently posted in Afghanistan.
Wining all three World Cups, Glover and Swann have been unbeaten all season, but that record looked under threat at the start of their final. USA led the British pair for the first 500 metres, but Glover and Swann then gradually built a lead, shaking off the USA by half-way and resisting the charges of Romania and New Zealand, who eventually took silver and bronze.
Afterwards, Glover said: “USA put us under pressure for the first 500m and made us a bit worried, but we stayed focused. At 1000m we looked at the Romanians and knew we had it under control. We just couldn’t believe how good it felt – crossing the finish line we were overjoyed.”