Cambridge University Boat Club duo Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George earn Rowing World Cup gold
Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George helped lead the Great Britain gold rush at the World Rowing Cup in Belgrade.
In the first race of the Paris Olympiad, the Cambridge University Boat Club duo took top spot for one of eight gold medals won by GB, who also had two silvers and four bronze.
It was a fine way for Wynne-Griffith to celebrate his 28th birthday as he and George won the men’s coxless pair final in 6min 19.91sec by nearly two seconds from Spain.
“It’s been a good step in the season,” said Wynne-Griffith. “It’s quite nice to know that you’re learning whether it’s good or bad. It’s really fun.”
George added: “We put a bit of work in that last 500m. It’s a good step in the season for us and I’m glad we could get a medal for Ollie on his birthday.”
Former Cambridge University Boat Club president Freddie Davidson also earned a gold medal, in the men’s coxless four.
He was joined by Will Stewart, Morgan Bolding and Lenny Jenkins as they won in 6.05.76, beating the Netherlands by two seconds.
Stewart said: “We knew people were going to go out hard and just charge and try and put the pressure on us early.
“We had our race plan – we just wanted to go out, get in our rhythm and do our thing. We know we’ve got this pace, we just had to make sure we kept that level head all the way through and then take it home when we needed to.”
Cambridge-based George Bourne narrowly missed out on a medal in the men’s double sculls with Matt Haywood.
They finished fourth in 6.13.10, just 0.58sec behind bronze medalists Spain.
British Rowing director of performance Louise Kingsley said: “For the first race of the Paris cycle, it’s good to see our team come together and work as a new look-and-feel unit.
“It’s as much learning how we work as the team behind the team to support the athletes, as well as giving athletes the platform to go out and race, and they’ve done themselves proud today.
“It’s great to top the medal table but we’re realistic that there’s a long way to go this season. We’ll see our crews shaping and evolving as we go through the season, and I’m sure we’ll see other crews from the rest of the world coming in.”