European Rowing Championships: Glover & Stanning among four British golds

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GB's Glover & Stanning win gold in women's pair

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning retained their women's pair title as Great Britain topped the medal table at the European Championship in Germany.

In strong winds, there were also golds for the men's four, the women's eight and the lightweight men's pair.

But the men's eight in Brandenburg could only manage bronze as they sneaked into third via a photo finish.

Britain's total of seven medals was down on the 10 won at last year's championships where they won six golds.

Katherine Grainger, who is aiming to become Britain's most decorated female Olympian after four previous medals, struggled to make an impact.

The 40-year-old London Olympic champion and new partner Vicky Thornley finished fourth in the women's double sculls with BBC commentator and two-time Olympic champion James Cracknell suggesting they should move into the women's eight crew.

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European Rowing Champs: GB win European gold in men's four

On a day where waves made clean rowing close to impossible, 24-year-old Constantine Louloudis - who was joined in the victorious men's four by Alex Gregory, George Nash and Mo Sbihi - described the conditions as "the worst I've rowed in".

Glover, undefeated alongside Stanning since 2011, added: "There were waves coming over my back at the start but racing here has up-skilled us. We may have cross-wind conditions at the Rio Olympics so it was good to race in them."

Who has to prove themselves before Rio?

With only 89 days left until the Rio Olympics, the women's pair and men's four stamped their authority on their races.

The new-look women's eight produced a superb finish to beat the Netherlands by 0.37 seconds and later dedicated their win to former GB coach Ron Needs, who died last month. All GB crews wore black ribbons in tribute to the man who coached at four Olympic Games.

However, other crews showed there is plenty to do in order to be selected for Rio, with a final team decision made by GB Rowing on 9 June.

Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes furthered their case in the men's pair after they pushed winners Hungary close to take silver, although they were disappointed not to win.

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There was also an encouraging second place for the lightweight men's four crew of Chris Bartley, Mark Aldred, Jono Clegg and Peter Chambers.

Olympic champion Kat Copeland and Charlotte Taylor, who missed out on their A final in the lightweight women's sculls on Saturday, finished second in the B final on Sunday.

Taylor said there had been "heartache" this week with their next chance to make amends at the World Cup in Lucerne on 27 May.

GB Rowing team performance director Sir David Tanner said: "It's been a day of mixed fortunes for the team with some exceptional performances, especially our four golds.

"Conditions have bordered on the extreme and have been a tough challenge for all nations but we are an outdoor sport and have to accept that. It's now onto Lucerne where we will hope for calmer water."

Annamarie Phelps twitter
British Rowing chairman Annamarie Phelps congratulated the women's eight

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