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"Utterly exceptional" Stanning retains world title as Scottish rowers impress in France

Posted: September 9, 2015

Heather Stanning produced “one of the best performances of all time” as Scottish rowers helped the GB Rowing Team top the medals table at the World Championships in Aiguebelette, France.

Stanning, from Lossiemouth, and partner Helen Glover continued their dominance of the women’s pair – an event they are unbeaten in since 2011 – by successfully defending their world title. 

Munlochy’s Alan Sinclair won bronze in the men’s four, while Katherine Grainger and Vicki Meyer-Laker ensured their boats qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. 

There were also medals in the non-Olympic class competitions for Sam Scrimgeour, Imogen Walsh and Karen Bennett.

Olympic and European champions Stanning and Glover ensured the world title also remained in their collection with another dominant performance, finishing two lengths clear of New Zealand after leading throughout. 

Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director, said: “That was utterly exceptional. In my book, that ranks as one of the best GB performances of all time.” 

But Stanning believes the pair can get even better during Olympic year, saying: “We have worked very, very hard and it’s exciting because we feel there are more improvements to come.”

Sinclair was part of a men’s four crew that finished an up-and-down season on a storming note by winning bronze behind Italy in their final. 

“I am overwhelmed by how well our race went,” he said. “To win would, of course, have been the dream but to come away with a medal with so many people doubting us is a really good feeling.”

Meyer-Laker, of Premnay, was part of a women’s eight which narrowly missed out on a medal but had the consolation of securing the top-five finish they needed to qualify for Rio 2016. 

London 2012 champion Grainger and partner Vicky Thornley went into their women’s double scull final knowing that Olympic qualification was in the bag. 

They decided to produce a medal-or-bust approach to their final and it looked like paying off but they were rowed out of contention in the final 150m and finished sixth.

In the non-Olympic class events, Kirriemuir’s Sam Scrimgeour won gold with Joel Cassells in the lightweight men’s pair.

“I am delighted with that,” said Scrimgeour. “I have had three really good pairs partners this season but this takes the biscuit. It’s been a short honeymoon period and it’s been great to be in the pair with Joel.”

Walsh of Inverness was runner-up in the lightweight women’s single and Glasgow’s Bennett was part of a rookie women’s four which impressed by winning silver. 

Full results and reports from the World Championships can be found at www.gbrowingteam.org.uk