Grainger faces wait as Scots named in Rio rowing team

Delay on final places as Stanning, Swann and Bennett named in 43-strong GB team

HEATHER Stanning will defend her Olympic rowing title alongside Helen Glover in Rio, as Katherine Grainger faces a waiting game before she finds out if she will be going to a record-breaking fifth Olympics

The reigning Olympic, World and European champions, who won the first Gold for Team GB at London 2012 in the women’s pair, have been named in a 43-strong squad and are among the top medal hopes.

Polly Swann and Karen Bennett, from Edinburgh, who have been selected to race in the women’s eight, join Lossiemouth’s Stanning in the Scots contingent who have booked their seat on the plane.

But Grainger, as predicted in our launch edition of Sportswoman, faces a delay in finding out if she can make a historic fifth appearance at the Olympics – though team bosses have left the door open for a return to the women’s doubles by delaying naming the final four places, which also include two reserves.

Grainger, whose Gold and three silver medals at four consecutive games make her Team GB’s most-decorated female Olympian, has faced an uncertain build-up after returning from a two-year break.

It seemed as if she might re-establish her successful pairing with London 2012 women’s double scull partner Anna Watkins.

When Watkins decided to halt her comeback attempt, Grainger and Vicky Thornley resumed their Rio bid before switching to a last-minute bid to win places in the women’s eight.

Now, with that route closed, they face a last scramble for the final two seats in a boat.

“It’s my confident intention to announce very soon those two back in their double and racing for Team GB at the Olympic Games”

Sir David Tanner British Rowing performance director said: “We did some testing at the beginning of this week to see whether or not the double of Katherine Grainger and Vicky Thornley could, at their request, make a slot for themselves in the women’s eight. That was not to be.

“It’s my confident intention to announce very soon those two back in their double and racing for Team GB at the Olympic Games.

“It will take a very short time I hope. We did it for performance reasons, not to necessarily align with this announcement.

“I am confident that we have a very strong team for Rio. We have had a few curved balls this season already with illness and have a final run-out at the world cup in Poznan next week before going to Rio.  I am sure these will be a challenging but exceptional Games with a truly brilliant field of play for rowing at the Lagoa”.

Helen Glover said: “There is a great sense of pride that comes along with Olympic selection. Heather and I have been working alongside our coach Robin with Rio firmly in our sights.

“When we are at the Olympics we hope to put in a performance that reflects the hard work of the last four years since London 2012. I feel ready and excited that it is time to compete at the highest level.”

Mark England, Team GB’s Chef de Mission, added: “I’m delighted to be able to select and welcome such a talented rowing squad to Team GB for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Packed with Olympic experience, this squad of elite athletes can go to the Games full of confidence after strong results over the past 12 months. This experience will, I’m sure, be a valuable asset to the whole team in Rio de Janeiro; and I’m thrilled to see a number of rowers making their Olympic debut, clearly demonstrating the success of their talent pipeline.

“Team GB have a deservedly proud rowing tradition, and I have every confidence that this group of British rowers will once more be medal competitive, and enjoy a successful and memorable Games this summer.”

Don’t miss our interview with Katherine Grainger, in our digital issue, or in our features section.

Team GB Rowing squad Rio 2016

Women’s Pair

Helen Glover

Heather Stanning

Women’s Eight

Katie Greves

Melanie Wilson

Frances Houghton

Polly Swann

Jessica Eddie

Olivia Carnegie-Brown

Karen Bennett

Zoe Lee

Cox of Women’s Eight

Zoe de Toledo

Women’s Lightweight Double Scull

Charlotte Taylor

Katherine Copeland

Men’s Four

Alex Gregory

Mohammed Sbihi

George Nash

Constantine Louloudis

Men’s Single

Alan Campbell

Men’s Double

Jonathan Walton

John Collins

Men’s Quad

Peter Lambert

Sam Townsend

Angus Groom

Graeme Thomas

Men’s Pair, Eight, 2 Spares from:

Paul Bennett

Scott Durant

Matt Gotrel

Andrew T Hodge

Stewart Innes

Matt Langridge

Tom Ransley

Pete Reed

Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell

William Satch

Alan Sinclair

Matthew Tarrant

Cox of Men’s Eight

Phelan Hill

Men’s Lightweight Four

Chris Bartley

Mark Aldred

Jono Clegg

Peter Chambers

Men’s Lightweight Double Scull

Will Fletcher