World Cup showing gives rower plenty to build on

Monica Relph in action in Sydney (rear of the boat)
Monica Relph in action in Sydney (rear of the boat)
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Fourth. Supposedly the worst position for any sportsman to finish in an event but one from which Monica Relph – member of the GB Women’s Quadruple Scull – can take a great deal of satisfaction, following her crew’s performance in the first Rowing World Cup regatta held in Sydney at the weekend.

The Rowing World Cup is staged over three regattas and Sydney was the first time one of the World Cup events has been staged in the Southern Hemisphere.

Relph, from Weston Turville, enjoyed three weeks of training ‘down under’ prior to competition and this paid dividends when the GB crew began racing.

Following retirements and post-Olympic sabbaticals for many of the established names of Women’s rowing, Relph’s crew was composed of athletes making their debut on the senior world stage.

The Quad came third in their heat behind New Zealand and Canada, which meant they had to row again in the repechage, when they came third again, in order to try to qualify for the final.

In the final the Australian and American crews stole a march on the rest of the field. Fifth, for the first 1,500 metres, a strong final 500m saw GB power through Canada 250m before the line but could not quite get the overlap on New Zealand who took third.

“With a quick USA quad and other strong crews we knew our event was stacked but we went in ranked fifth and came out fourth so I think we did a good job as a new crew’, said Relph.

“We were seen as the underdogs but we never thought that way – I think it was a really gutsy performance under pressure from all four of us.

“Getting the verdict over Canada will give us all confidence.”