GB-France Match, Gravelines, France

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Tuesday, 17 July 2012 11:25 Written by Administrator

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On Thursday July 12th the British Junior rowing squad departed for Gravelines in Northern France to compete in the annual GB-France Match for J16/WJ16 athletes from the two countries. Selection for the British team was by a time trial at Holme Pierrepont a couple of weeks ago and the French team was selected from their National Championships last week.

Olivia Kay was selected for the women’s single sculls event and Rowan Law was the reserve sculler for the boys' squad and they were accompanied by their coach, Claire Parnell. Both scullers are 15 years old and raced up a year for the event.

After three days of training on the new regatta lake in France in challenging conditions of constantly changing wind, including strong crosswinds for the time trials on Friday, the regatta took place on Sunday morning in bright sunshine and a calmer cross wind.

Olivia raced in the third event of the morning, where a slow start found her two boat lengths behind her French opposition. As Olivia commented afterwards, despite being very nervous about the race she tried to ignore her opponent and stay focussed on good technique. This approach paid off as she eventually caught the French girl and rowed through to take the gold medal by a couple of lengths. There was cheering for Great Britain all the way down the course with British flags flying, coaches and parents following on bikes and Richard Boulton, Head British Junior Coach, joining in the cheering on the finish line.

The last race of the morning featured Rowan in his single sculls event racing the reserve French sculler. Rowan managed to get a good start which immediately put him in the lead. Although the French sculler remained in contention all through the race, Rowan never lost the lead and kept focussed and determined. Rowan crossed the line first also by a couple of lengths, and along with Olivia was presented with his medal on the podium after the event.

The GB-France Match was won overall by Great Britain – the boys won their event as did the girls (for the first time in 10 years).