Belfast Telegraph

Shorten misses podium but gains belief

 

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland ended up with a 50% success rate on the medal count at the World Rowing Championships after Rebecca Shorten and the Great Britain women's eight crew finished fifth in their final at the biggest regatta of the year.

Belfast lady Shorten had been hoping to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Peter Chambers and Holly Nixon and make the podium at her first World Championships but the British team were always up against it in Florida yesterday.

They had only made the final through the repechage and while they produced a fine performance in the last race of the event it wasn't good enough to pick up a medal.

Romania finished first in six minutes 6.40 seconds with Canada claiming silver just ahead of New Zealand with USA in fourth.

Shorten has shown promise in 2017 and can move forward into next year with confidence feeling that better times are ahead.

And the self-belief of Enniskillen's Holly Nixon should certainly be on the up after winning a bronze medal for Great Britain with her team-mates in Saturday's quadruple sculls event.

What is so pleasing for the GB rowing bosses is that the best is yet to come for Nixon, Jess Leyden, Beth Bryan and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne.

Portora Boat Club member Nixon has spoken in the past about her dream to compete in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and if she continues to progress as she has done in recent years, that should become a reality.

Nixon will return home with a spring in her step, as will Coleraine's Peter Chambers who won silver in the lightweight quadruple sculls final alongside Edward Fisher, Zak Lee Green and Gavin Horsburgh.

France crossed the finish line first but Great Britain, racing together for the first time at a major regatta, were close to pipping them in a compelling encounter.

The fourth of the Northern Ireland rowers, Coleraine's Joel Cassells, had to settle for a fourth place with Sam Scrimgeour in the lightweight men's pair.

Vicky Thornley won silver in the women's single scull as Great Britain claimed two medals on the final day.

Tom Barras added a bronze in the men's event to take the British haul to six medals overall.

Thornley, who won an Olympic silver in the double sculls in Rio last year, clocked seven minutes 24.5 seconds as Switzerland's Jeannine Gmelin won gold.

"Vicky has had an incredible season," Dame Katherine Grainger told the BBC.

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