Ford rounds off Invincible campaign with rowing World Championship gold

Ford, Rory Gibbs, Morgan Bolding, David Bewicke-Copley, Sholto Carnegie, Charles Elwes, Thomas Digby, James Rudkin and cox Harry Brightmore celebrate GB’s first World Rowing Championship win since 2015.

By Tom Harle, Sportsbeat

Tom Ford helped fire Great Britain to a landmark gold medal at the World Rowing Championships.

The Holmes Chapel rower rounded off a remarkable unbeaten season with victory in the men’s eight in Račice, Czech Republic.

Ford joined forces with Rory Gibbs, Morgan Bolding, David Bewicke-Copley, Sholto Carnegie, Charles Elwes, Thomas Digby, James Rudkin and cox Harry Brightmore to win Britain’s first gold in the top men’s boat class since 2015.

He said: “It’s been a great year.

“We’ve had new guys come into the team and we’ve had a lot of guys come back from the Olympics with things they wanted to achieve when they got back.

“It’s been a really strong blend of enthusiasm with the young guys and the leadership and the experience of the young guys.

“This eight is a great example of what happens when we get those two things in synchronicity. It’s been a tough season but it’s been awesome.”

The crew have won all four races they entered this season, adding the world title to European gold and top step in two prestigious World Cup events.

They won Tuesday’s heat comfortably from Romania and got out of the blocks for one of their strongest starts of the season in the final.

They opened up an early canvas lead on the Netherlands but they came charging back in the back half of the race, sprinting hard for the line and cutting the British lead.

But Brightmore guided his men to victory by a margin of 1.11 seconds in a time of 5:24.41.

The cox said: “I was actually just really, really quiet for the first minute. We really just wanted to sort of stick to our plan and not get caught up on what was happening around.

“About two minutes in I just told him guys, ‘let's get to work’ and we just started to try to create a gap that no-one could eat back into.

“We were looking good but the Dutch were absolutely smashing into the line. We had to really be on our A-game coming through to finish but credit to the guys who put everything in.

“We were clinging on for dear life at the end there but we managed it.”

Ford, Rudkin and Elwes were part of the men’s eight that won bronze at last summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.

Carnegie and Gibbs both moved across from the fourth-placed men’s four while Digby, Bewicke-Copley and Bolding were the new crew members.

Rudkin said: “I feel the happiest I’ve ever felt in the team. Morale is just super high.

“I feel proud of the whole team and proud of what we just did. We wanted to make it a one-lane race and put out our best performance.

“There’s two more years to Paris and we’ve not quite redeemed ourselves yet. This is step one and we’re really excited for the next two steps.”

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/