Romford rower Hunter chases Olympic spot
PUBLISHED: 12:11 24 August 2011
World Championships set to start in Slovenia
Romford’s Mark Hunter, the reigning world and Olympic lightweight men’s double scull champion, starts his bid for World Rowing Championship glory in Slovenia this weekend.
After their European-based training camp, Hunter and the GB team flew out to Bled earlier this week for the event, which doubles up as a qualifying regatta for the 2012 Olympics.
The 68-strong squad will field boats in all Olympic classes - five women’s, three lightweight and six men’s - as well as three of the four Paralympic classes.
There are also crews contesting three of the international lightweight classes.
Britain won four golds, four silvers and a bronze in the Olympic classes at the last World Championships as well as a Paralympic-class gold and silver.
Hunter and Zac Purchase will test their progress and form after a season troubled by a post-viral episode for Purchase which ruled them out of the world cup finals.
Hunter raced with Adam Freeman Pask, Britain’s lightweight single scull contender, in Lucerne and said: “Every year’s a different experience but this one’s another challenge, not competing at the last world cup (with Zac).
“But it gives nobody any idea of our form and where we are. And if we turn up ready to go that’s in our advantage.”
The duo will race a heat on Sunday afternoon before potentially facing a quarter-final on Wednesday, semi-final next Saturday and final on Sunday September 4.
They are coming back to form in training but know that New Zealand, the 2009 world champions, pose one of many potential threats.
“I’m careful not to make too many predictions but I can assure you we have a really ambitious team,” said GB rowing team performance director David Tanner.
“This is as good as any team we have sent to any World Championships. The excitement we have in this team
is the breadth of potential across it.
“I’m sure we will have a really successful Worlds. As to the opposition, we anticipate that the Chinese will come on strongly.
“I’m expecting some nations to step up. It will be tougher in Bled I’m sure than at the last world cup in Lucerne in July.”