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Cambridge rowers Imogen Grant and George Bourne qualify for respective World Rowing Championships finals

Cambridge rower Imogen Grant believes she is in the form of her life ahead of her bid for World Championship gold on Saturday.

The 26-year-old reached the lightweight double sculls showpiece alongside team-mate Emily Craig with a dominant semi-final win in Racice.

The pair are strong medal contenders on Saturday and among the favourites for gold as they bid to add the world title to the European crown they won six weeks ago and banish painful memories of a year ago, when they missed out an Olympic medal by just 0.01s.

Imogen Grant and Emily Craig pictured racing at Henley Royal Regatta. Picture: Ben Rodford Photography
Imogen Grant and Emily Craig pictured racing at Henley Royal Regatta. Picture: Ben Rodford Photography

Now on the hunt for a world title, Grant said: “(The semi-final) felt really good. The season's been really long and I think we've both been here in Racice trying to get ready to race and that semi-final it really feels like we've arrived.

“And it puts us in a really good position for the final on Saturday. I think we’re just taking each regatta as it comes. It feels like a very long time since Europeans.

“I know it’s not relying too heavily on what was a really great result but also having a lot of confidence in the fact that before Europeans we had four weeks in the boat, and now we’ve had six to eight weeks.

“We’ve done a lot of miles and have been building on that, taking each race as it comes and having a lot of confidence in a lot of years separately and together in what we've been building.

“They’ve not been easy years and it will be really nice to come out with a result that we definitely deserve.”

In their semi-final, Grant and Craig put in a strong performance to claim first in 6:58.67, a second and a half ahead of second placed Ireland.

The pairing were the fastest qualifiers overall, with the USA second in a semi-final time of 7:01.03.

Having rowed together since 2019, Craig and Grant have seen the hardship of a global pandemic and delayed Olympics during their time together but have now relished a season of success in 2022.

And with crowds back at events, Grant is enjoying having family watch her compete once more.

“It's really nice that my partner's here and my parents are both here are they are so supportive of what I do. It’s really nice to be able to race with them around,” she added.

“I think for both of us, we've been doing this for a few years now and it's not our first rodeo and that gives us a bit more maturity and ability to race with confidence.”

* British Rowing is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the ongoing World Championships in Racice, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/

Meanwhile, Bourne was part of the British Men’s Quadruple Sculls line-up that secured their place in Saturday's final after finishing second in today's semi-final.

He said: “You come into today and there’s a lot to win and lose. Now we’ve got through that one we can take the pressure off our shoulders a little bit, we’re in the game and there’s nothing to lose.

“We’ve started to build our identity a little bit as a crew on our camps, so we can go into tomorrow with a bit of confidence, chests out and see what we can put down.”

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