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Imogen Grant teams up with Emily Craig to win World Rowing Championship gold while George Bourne clinches silver

Imogen Grant credited Olympic heartache with fuelling her season to remember after claiming a stunning World Championship gold in Racice.

Cambridge ace Grant, 26, and Emily Craig have been the dominant force in lightweight women’s double sculls racing in 2022 and finished more than three seconds clear of nearest rivals USA to claim victory in Racice and back up their European triumph.

This summer of success has been the perfect way to bounce back from disappointment in Tokyo, where missing out on an Olympic medal by one-hundredth of a second only served to enhance their desire to take their performances up a notch.

“If anything will put fire in your belly, it’s being that close to an Olympic medal,” Grant said. “Tokyo was an incredible experience but we both wanted to come away with medals around our necks.

“Crossing the finish line at Europeans, both of us were quite teary in terms of what that medal meant to us. We’ve been able to build on that, which is great.”

The British duo were not completely flawless, with Craig admitting she ‘made a wrong call’ seven strokes in, but they quickly recovered their composure to streak ahead of the chasing pack.

Grant will now embark upon the final year of her medicine degree at Cambridge University but will give herself time to reflect on her achievements this season, which began with Boat Race success and has ended on top of the podium in the Czech Republic.

“Lightweight rowing is unbelievably competitive and what we’ve done is testament to our coaches, who have enabled us to do the most training we’ve ever done this year,” she added.

“It has really set us up for a fantastic year. I was away doing the Boat Race earlier in the year but Emily is unbeaten in the lightweight this season, which is not something a record you can quote very often.

“Andrew Randell (coach) has really rejuvenated the women’s squad, there are some new ideas and so much buy-in.

“There is a really positive culture from everyone on the women’s side and you can see that from the results we’ve had.”

Meanwhile, George Bourne rode the wave of a topsy-turvy season to chisel out silver at the same event.

The Cambridge rower joined forces with Harry Leask, Matt Haywood and Thomas Barras to reach the podium in the men’s quad sculls.

Bourne’s season began in the double with Haywood and ended on the global rostrum on his first appearance at the Championships.

He said: “I’ll be celebrating this one all winter! Matt and I were quite consistently just outside the medals so to finish on the podium here, it’s an awesome feeling.

“I’m chuffed to be with these guys and it was brilliant to work with Matt. To come away with a medal is a real plus.”

The quartet successfully roused themselves from the disappointment of finishing fourth at August’s European Championships in Munich.

Having been beaten by the Italians into second in Thursday’s semi-finals, Britain let Italy and Poland go to the front in the early stages.

They made a move in the third 500m and overhauled Italy, beating them to silver by more than a second although the Poles slipped clear to gold by the same margin.

* 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/

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