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18th Sep, 2021

Evesham's Sullivan marks GB debut with world silver medal

A UNIVERSITY student from Evesham is celebrating after winning a silver medal at the Under-23 World Rowing Championships in his first call-up for Great Britain.

Patrick Sullivan, 21, a former pupil at Prince Henry’s High School, has rowed for the University of London Boat Club for three years while studying Earth Sciences at University College London.

His selection for Team GB followed a series of rowing trials starting in November 2016 and culminating in final trials just three weeks before the World Championships.

Sullivan was selected as stroke man of the coxed four alongside fellow UL crewmate Josh Kent and rowers from the universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Oxford Brookes.

The crew spent two weeks on a training camp at the GB training facilities in Caversham, near Reading, before heading out for the world championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The opening race of the coxed four event did not give much cheer for the GB supporters as the GB crew came last in their heat.

Only the winners of the heats went straight through to the final, in this case Italy and USA, with the rest of the field having to race a repêchage to secure one of the remaining four places.

A repêchage is a contest in which the best-placed of those who failed to win heats compete for a place in the final.

The crew turned things completely around for the repêchage when they got out of the blocks first and stayed out in front for the whole race – winning the rep and putting down a marker for the final.

In the blistering heat, with temperatures touching 37°C, the GB crew lined up alongside crews from Italy, USA, Australia, France, and Romania, for what was to prove one of the most exciting finals of the championships.

All six crews got out from the start level and for the first 500 metres it was anyone’s race.

France dropped off the pace by the 1km mark with Italy and the USA leading the field with the other three crews less than half a boat length behind.

Coming into the last 500m, the Italians had pulled ahead and GB were holding third place half a length behind the USA and just ahead of the Australians and Romanians.

GB then launched a big attack on the USA crew, passing them in the last 100m to secure the silver medal, finishing less than a length behind the Italian gold medal winners.

The silver medal earned by the coxed four was one of five medals won by Great Britain, putting them third in the medal table at U23 Worlds, behind Italy and the Netherlands.

Sullivan, who started his rowing career at Evesham Rowing Club, is currently attending the International University Rowing Regatta in Sheng-du, China, representing the University of London, and will be resuming his studies in the autumn.

His GB representation completes a great year of rowing, having won the British University Championships, British Under-23 Championships and made the final of University Eights at Henley Royal Regatta with his University of London crewmates.

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