Cassells aims to go out on a high in World Championship
Coleraine's Joel Cassells has qualified for the Men's Lightweight pairs final at the World Rowing Championships in Florida. Competing alongside partner Sam Scrimgeour, Cassells and the Great Britain boat finished third in yesterday's repechage - a result good enough to see the pair into Friday's decider when medals are at stake.
Cassells and Scrimgeour won gold in this event in 2015, but they will be up against it this time and will need an inspired performance to make the podium with Ireland duo Shane O'Driscoll and Mark O'Donovan heavy favourites to triumph.
In a tight repechage Italy crossed the line first in a time of six minutes 40.42 seconds with Russia just over a second behind. The GB time was 6.42.69. USA, in fourth, also made the final.
With rowing undergoing quite a transformation with the number of lightweight races decreasing at the Olympics, Friday's final could well be the last time Cassells competes in big time competition at this class.
He will be determined to go out on a high and, given events in Florida to date and the form the various crews are showing in the lightweight pairs, a medal of any colour would be deemed a success.
The same goes for the GB women's Eight crew, which includes Belfast's Rebecca Shorten, who will be disappointed after finishing third in their heat behind New Zealand and USA yesterday.
It means Shorten and co will race in tomorrow's repechage for a place in Sunday's final.