Olympic silver medallist Vicky Thornley on Sunday night became Britainâs first senior womenâs single sculls champion, rescuing the team from an otherwise frustrating European Rowing Championships.Â
Thornleyâs gold in an expertly judged race added to three good bronze medals from the womenâs team, while the menâs squad were dogged by illness and injury, finishing below the podium.
Watched by former crewmate Katherine Grainger, now a BBC commentator, Thornley held her nerve while Germany and Denmark led in turn, then pushed in the third quarter and stayed ahead in the sprint.Â
âIt was a bit short and messy at the end but I managed to hang on,â she said. âWhat Katherine and I produced in Rio was just a massive confidence boost for meâ.
Thornley is nowhere near back to full fitness after her post-Olympic break, but along with the womenâs pair, quad and lightweight double, who won bronze medals, she has time to develop before an unusually late World Championships in Florida in September.
âI was really impressed by how [my squad] stepped up and raced here,â said chief womenâs coach Paul Thompson, who has had to cope with the retirement of nearly all his 2016 Olympic medallists.
However, he is planning a busy two months for his rowers. The next World Cups are three and six weeks away, but sandwiched between them is Henley Royal Regatta, which is offering three new trophies for women this summer.Â