European Rowing Championships: Vicky Thornley wins gold for Britain

Vicky Thornley
Vicky Thornley triumphed in the penultimate race of the programme in the Czech Republic

Britain's Vicky Thornley captured gold in the single sculls at the European Rowing Championships in Racice.

There were no men's medals but the women's quadruple sculls won bronze.

Defending champions Joel Cassells and Sam Scrimgeour were only fourth in the lightweight pairs as Mark O'Donovan and Sean O'Driscoll triumphed for Ireland.

Karen Bennett and Holly Norton in the women's pairs, plus new lightweight double sculls pairing Kate Copeland and Emily Craig also took bronze.

Thornley, 29, who won Olympic silver in the double sculls with Katherine Grainger in Rio last year, clocked seven minutes 34.230 seconds, holding off a determined late burst from 44-year-old Belarusian Ekaterina Karsten, a two-time Olympic champion.

Cassells was seeking a third consecutive men's lightweight pair title and he and Scrimgeour were in the medals with 500m remaining but came home in 6:39.750 seconds, almost five seconds behind Italy in third place.

Bennett and Holly Norton, who won the women's pairs at the first World Cup of the season in Belgrade earlier this month, were second after 500m but their finishing time of 7:06.55 seconds was six seconds behind winners Romania.

Jacob Dawson and Matthew Rossiter, also World Cup winners three weeks ago, were fifth in the men's pairs in 6:30.460.

Peter Chambers and Will Fletcher finished sixth in the men's double sculls, won by Olympic champions Pierre Houin and Jeremie Azou of France, but Ireland's O'Donovan brothers - Paul and Gary - produced a stirring finish to claim the silver medal.

The British men's four of Callum McBrierty, Matthew Tarrant, Mohamed Sbihi and William Satch were confident of a medal having won in Belgrade, but finished fifth in 5:59.970, Italy taking gold in 5:54.520.

However, the women's quartet of Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Beth Bryan, Holly Nixon and Jess Leyden shone in the sculls, recording 6:26.540, less than a second behind the Netherlands, with Germany winning in 6:24.080.

Britain made a strong start in the men's quadruple sculls but their time of 5:49.380 saw them just miss out on a medal, finishing fourth behind Italy as Lithuania won in 5:44.650.

The women's eight also started well and were second after 1,000m but finished fourth in 6:18.510, Romania taking gold in 6:10.350, while in the concluding men's eight, Britain were fifth in 5:34.290.

All British rowers wore black ribbons during their finals in memory of British Rowing president Dame Di Ellis, who died last week, and also as a tribute to the victims of the Manchester attack.

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