Champs return to defend World titles in Rotterdam

Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour, Gold medal winners  at the 2016 FISA WCII. Peter SPURRIER/Intersport-images
Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour, Gold medal winners at the 2016 FISA WCII. Peter SPURRIER/Intersport-images
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Defending champions Joel Cassells, Sam Scrimgeour and Henry Fieldman are among the senior athletes announced today by British Rowing for the 2016 World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam.

Cassells and Scrimgeour, the latter the lightweight men’s spare for Team GB in Rio, will be looking to continue their excellent unbeaten partnership in the lightweight men’s pair.

I am chuffed to be selected again with Sam to defend our title in the pair, we are very excited to get to Rotterdam and start racing

Joel Cassells

The Coleraine/Kirriemuir combination were crowned as World Champions in their first regatta together last year and have continued that impressive form during 2016, winning the European Championships title and World Cup gold in Lucerne and Poznan.

“I am chuffed to be selected again with Sam to defend our title in the pair, we are very excited to get to Rotterdam and start racing,” said Cassells.

“We’ve strived to continue this season where we left off in Aiguebelette and winning that European title and being unbeaten since we first raced together is special.

“Of course that puts a target on our backs and adds to the expectation but we relish the challenge.

“Being part of a highly-competitive lightweight and women’s squad this year has pushed us both on both physically and mentally.

“It gives us great confidence when we’re punching up with the likes of our brilliant women’s pair that we’re in a good position to begin racing again.”

Four other medallists from the 2015 championships in Aiguebelette, France, will also compete in this year’s edition for non-Olympic boats, which is taking place alongside the World U23 and Junior Championships from 21-28 August.

That means more than 100 GB rowers will be competing on the Willem-Alexander Baan course in what is effectively the first major international event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympiad, coming just eight days after the Rio regatta concludes.

British Rowing Performance Director Sir David Tanner, who will be Overall Team Leader in Rotterdam, said: “These three, senior boats will want to lay down a marker for the Tokyo Olympic cycle and have a great opportunity to impress.

“We are still assessing the standard of two possible additional boats for the Worlds, a women’s four and lightweight men’s quad, and will decide on those later this week.”