WORLD Champion Katherine Grainger won gold in her class to clinch victory in the World Rowing Cup on Sunday in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The former Bearsden Academy pupil was partnered in the double scull event by Anna Watkins from Staffordshire and recorded a time of 6mins 54.34secs, beating the Australian pair of Kerry Hore and Kim Crow who crossed the line in 6:55.75. In third were the Ukrainians Anastasiia Kozhenkova and Yana Dementieva in 6:58.92. Six pairs competed in the final race.
This was the last of a series of three races in the world cup campaign and will cement the duo’s roll as the ones to beat in the double scull.
Grainger (35), who lived in Milngavie before going to university in Aberdeen, cruised to victory in the opening heats in a time of 6mins 55.86secs to book her place in the final of the three-day event which culminated on Sunday.
Coach Paul Thompson said: “The next step is the world rowing championship and I think they are well placed to come away with another medal.
“In the first of the series in Munich the pair won but they missed the second in the series in Hamburg because Anna was recovering from a back injury. It all came down to the final third race. It was really good that they managed to accumulate enough points in this to win the overall title.”
This is an important season for Grainger and Watkins with the Olympic qualifying round in Bled Slovenia coming up between August 28 and September 4.
Thompson added: “We are confident we can qualify her boat into the Olympics. In rowing it is not the rowers that qualify, but the boats, although I think it would be highly unlikely that Katherine and Anna will not be in these boats.”
Another important event in the athletes’ calendar is the European Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria over three days from September 16.
Commenting on the result, David Tanner, the GB Rowing Team Performance Director said: “Each of our gold medals today had a story behind it. The women’s double, because of injury, is still a work in progress and to win was significant.”