Rudkin backs ‘special’ crew to make their mark on World Championships

·3-min read
Olympic bronze medallist James Rudkin is also reigning European Champion in the men's eight

By Paul Martin, Sportsbeat

James Rudkin is a relative veteran within Britain’s men’s eight and few crews have excited him quite like the one he’s backing to ‘do something special’ at the World Championships.

Rudkin has earned bronze medals in his last two visits to the competition, in 2018 and 2019, and returned home from last summer’s Tokyo Olympics with the same colour in his luggage.

The 28-year-old from Litchborough is one of just three survivors from the eight who competed in Japan and the early signs are promising for the new crew, who eased to European gold in Munich last month.

They are now hoping to complete a memorable season in Racice from September 18 as they continue to build towards Paris 2024.

“It’s a really special group here,” he said. “I have been in plenty of crews I’ve enjoyed but this one has been a real highlight so far.

“We’re all on the same page with the same mission. We’ll have to put in the best performance we’ve ever done as a crew to come away with some medals and that’s what we want to do.

“It’s the highlight of the season and one of the races I’ve been most excited for.

“I’ve done an Olympic Games, and that was great, but the biggest race of your career is the next one. We have a chance here to do something special.”

The men’s eight’s bronze was one of just two medals won by British rowers in Tokyo but the squad have been revitalised in the 12 months since.

Newcastle University BC ace Rudkin credits the fresh faces with injecting energy into life at Caversham and Britain were back on top of the medal table at the European Championships.

“A lot was talked about how the team had a tough time in Tokyo but we are doing what we’ve been doing for years – just doing it better,” he said.

“We haven’t reinvented the wheel, we’re doing the same basic things, but everyone is realising how high the standards have to be day-to-day.

“The new guys have been really invigorating and having experienced the Games, we’ve been able to impart some of that knowledge and feed off the new guys coming in.

“It’s not like they’re kids, they’ve raced at a high level for a long time and come through the same pathways we have.

“They’ve had the same experience as us, we’re just slightly more advanced in our careers, and that blend has made for a strong and harmonious crew.”

British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and 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/