Esme Booth will have a shot at World Rowing Championship gold on Saturday after finishing third in the women’s pairs semi-finals in Czech Republic.
Booth, 23, and her partner Emily Ford were put into a strong semi-final which included Olympic champions Grace Prendergast and Kerri Williams of New Zealand.
After a heat in which the British pair finished behind European bronze medallists Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meester of the Netherlands, they were placed in lane two – directly next to the Kiwi champions.
The Stratford-Upon-Avon rower, however, who along with Ford won a silver medal at the European Championships earlier this year, was not daunted by the prospect of competing with rowing heavyweights, but instead was excited to test herself against such strong opposition.
She said: “It was a step up from the heat, I think we have got our focuses on for tomorrow, we just need to keep being relaxed and finding that really solid run through the middle.
We had some great racing and our first medals of the competition were won today at the World Championships in Racice! 🥇👏
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“It’s just a really cool experience to have them (Prendergast and Williams), and they were in the lane next to us today which is exciting, knowing that they’re the Olympic champions and they’re right next to you.
“It’s good to see how far you are off the mark, so you can go out and see what you can do which is good.”
The pair finished third behind their Kiwi counterparts and USA duo Madeleine Wanamaker and Claire Collins, but with the top three advancing to the final, they remain in with a chance of gold.
After succeeding against European opposition, facing the rest of the world so early in the pair’s journey could be considered a tough ask, but Booth does not think it changes anything.
“I don’t think it changes necessarily our race plan, we’ve got what we want to do in our heads,” she added.
“So, it’s just about executing our race as best we can and making sure we step on from our performance.
“The rest of the world are here, but I don’t think it’s really our focus, obviously we want to be the best we can be and then see where we end up.”
With the pair now facing the chance of World Rowing Championships success to follow their European success, families have made the journey over to Racice, which Booth’s teammate Ford is hoping will give them that vital extra boost in the final.
She said: “I am not going to lie, I can’t hear a thing out there when racing, but it’s really good to have them out here!
“This is the first regatta they’ve come to this year, and it’s nice to be able to have them here, see them and have them supporting us – now there are just a couple of things we need to tweak before the final.”
British Rowing is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the ongoing World Championships in Racice, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/