George hoping tough lessons from world bronze will help him reach Paris

Tom George is hoping his bronze medal won at the World Rowing Championships can help to propel him to gold.
Tom George is hoping his bronze medal won at the World Rowing Championships can help to propel him to gold.

By Tom Harle

Cheltenham rower Tom George wants the tough lessons brought by world bronze to propel him to the Paris Olympics.

George and crewmate Ollie Wynne-Griffith overhauled Serbia in the final few strokes to claw their way onto the podium at the World Championships in Račice, Czech Republic.

But the 27-year-old was gunning for gold and rued a sluggish start for slipping behind Romania and Spain, consigned to the minor medals.

“99 times out of 100 we win that race but we just didn’t get it right on the blocks,” said George.

“I think we’re a better boat than them, the result doesn’t show that and we just let them go. We didn’t start well and let them get out, knowing they are strong in the back half.

“We weren’t able to neutralise that and we need to address it, it’s happened in two championships now. We’ve let ourselves down in the first 250m.”

Having claimed their scalp in Thursday’s semi-finals, George and Wynne-Griffith’s challenge was to again reel in the Romanians who beat them at August’s European Championships.

But after a long hold on the blocks Marius Cozmiuc and Sergiu Bejan stole a march on the field and opened up a clear-water lead on the Brits within the first 500m.

The British pair chipped away but couldn’t catch Spain in silver medal position.

They unleashed a fearsome sprint to overhaul Serbia’s Martin Mackovic and Milos Vasic and reach the rostrum.

George said: “We were down and out with 750m to go so to dig in like that was pretty epic.

“Two days ago was really good and we know it’s there for us, we just need to get that consistency and the performance showed our inexperience in the boat class.”

Wynne-Griffith said: “We dug in for the sprint and showed really good grit to pull something out of it. I think we can be proud.”

George has now taken four bronze medals at major championships after reaching the podium on Olympic debut in Tokyo as part of the eight.

His focus will now turn to qualifying for Paris 2024 with quota places available at next year’s World Championships.

“There will be big challenges ahead of us, we need to dust ourselves down and put ourselves in a position to be at the top of the podium,” said George.

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