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Golden day for Erik Horrie in Sarasota

Australian crowned World Champion in PR1 Men’s Single Scull, claims new World’s Best Time in process

Women’s Double Scull win bronze; Australia medals in six boats

Australian Erik Horrie was today crowned World Champion in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull (M1x) at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. The para-rower not only claimed the first PR1 M1x World Championship title raced over 2000 metres, but also set a new World’s Best Time after crossing the line in a time of 9 minutes 39 seconds.

The Women’s Double Scull of Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey won a bronze medal after a powerful race for the line in their final. It is Edmunds first senior World Championships medal and Aldersey’s second.

The Women’s Double Scull of Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey (Copyright Rowing Australia)

Australia concludes the 2017 World Rowing Championships having won six medals in 10 boat classes. Winning three gold medals (M4-, W4- and PR1 M1x), two silver medals (M2+ and LW4x) and one bronze medal (W2x), the Australian Rowing Team finished third on the World Championships medal table, with Italy topping the table, followed by New Zealand.

Performance Director, Bernard Savage said: “This a positive start to the new Olympic and Paralympic cycle. For the team to have achieved six medals, including three golds is a good boost for our young team as we continue to develop our National Training Centres and CampaignNumberOne.

“There are a lot of positives for us to build on and we’re delighted for all our medallists, including our three new World Champions.”

A late lane re-draw due to the forecast of cross wind saw Horrie moved into Lane 5 for his final taking on Paralympic Champion, Roman Polianskyi and an in form Russian Alexey Chuvashev. All three athletes came out of the start firing and the battle for the gold was inevitably to be between these three athletes.

As the crews crossed the halfway mark, Chuvashev’s stamina began to falter and Polianskyi and Horrie took the reins. As the two crossed the 1500m mark, Horrie made his move on the Ukrainian and began to sprint for the line. With Polianskyi running out steam, Horrie powered through to gold and his fourth World Championship title.

The 37-year-old was delighted to have raced internationally over 2000m, saying: “It’s something I’ve been wanting for a while now it’s just a great opportunity. I think the racing is just going to get faster and faster and I think the times will come down a lot more in the lead up to Tokyo.”

Horrie’s family had flown over to Florida to watch the four-time World Champion race internationally for the first time and the Australian admitted that their presence had helped him power over the line.

“It meant everything to have my partner Michelle, and our three children, here at the World Championships for the first time ever to support me. I think maybe in that last 250 metres, when there was nothing left in the tank and it was really hurting, the support of the crowd, the whole Australian Rowing Team and my family got me over that line,” admitted the two-time Paralympic silver medallist.

World Champion in the PR1 M1x, Erik Horrie (Copyright Rowing Australia)

Madeleine Edmunds and Olympia Aldersey were drawn in Lane 4 in their final and were the fastest crew out of the start and were the first to cross the 500 metre line with New Zealand and the USA in hot pursuit; just a second separated the entire field.

New Zealand’s Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe then did a push through the 750m mark and by the half way point the order had changed, with New Zealand in the lead with Australia right on their tails and the USA holding suit. With the wind switching to tail, the crews pulled into the final 250 metres and the sprint for the line began with New Zealand crossing in first, USA second and Australia taking third.

Edmunds admitted that winning her first senior World Championships medal was a fantastic feeling. “It still feels a little bit surreal, it’s one of those races where I don’t really know what I did but we really executed it well and we trusted each other to do what we needed to do and you can’t not be happy with that.

“Post-Olympic year, the quality of the racing here at the World Championships has been great. All the racing has been so close here, so it’s exciting to see what will happen over the next four years,” said Edmunds.

Aldersey, whose last senior World Championships medal was in the Women’s Double in 2014 added: “I think getting the medal for this year was a good outcome and looking at our progression through the regattas this year it’s great to see that what we’ve been working on has paid off.

“I think today was one of our best races. It has showed us that the work we’ve done on improving the backend of our race helped us to win a medal.”

The Men’s Eight raced their B-Final earlier in the day, finishing second to Great Britain. The young crew, with eight senior team debutantes, gained invaluable experience and conclude their regatta ranked eighth in the world.