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Murphy wins bronze at 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships

Australia featured in seven A-Finals at the event that concluded yesterday in Poland

Australia’s Sean Murphy capped off the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships by winning his first ever international medal. The New South Welshman picked up a bronze medal in the U23 Lightweight Men’s Single Scull final in Poznan, Poland yesterday (Sunday)

Wallis Russell narrowly missed out on a bronze medal in the final of the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull after a photo finish at the line, while the U23 Women’s Double Scull claimed fifth in the world at the conclusion of their World Rowing U23 Championships campaign. The U23 Lightweight Women’s Double Scull also finished fifth in their A-Final, while the U23 Women’s Eight took sixth place.

Rowing Australia Deputy Performance Director, Jaime Fernandez, said, “Congratulations must firstly go to Sean, and his coach Matthias Ungemach, on his bronze medal. An excellent outcome in a tough field. Whilst it was pleasing to have a high number of crews in A-Finals, a goal of the Pathway program and our Underage Teams, there are of course a number of valuable lessons that come from competing at an International level. It is important that we learn from these and we look forward to working with the athletes and coaches in future to convert these finals appearances into podium performances.”

“I would like to express my appreciation to all of the athletes, coaches, support staff, both from the U23 Team and RA Pathway unit. In particular Lyall McCarthy-Pathways Head Coach and Tony Rice-Sports Science Lead for their work with the athletes and coaches throughout this journey.

“It is also important to acknowledge and recognise the support that the Athletes, Coaches, along with RA, receive from our State Pathway partners. This includes schools, clubs, State Sporting Organisations and State Institutes and Academies. As we are all aware, a great deal of time, effort and resources goes into preparing, supporting and sending out Team overseas. Without this support, it would not be nearly as easy or in many cases possible.

“Finally, but certainly not least we do understand that this is partnership and one that could not work without the significant support and backing of families and friends of all of those involved,” added the Deputy Performance Director.

Murphy came out fast in his A-Final, pursuing the race leader, France’s Hugo Beurey, but the field was tight with Brazil’s Uncas Batista, the reigning U23 World Champion, also in the mix. At the halfway mark, Batista, with Murphy still sitting in third, overtook Beurey. With 250 metres to go, the Brazilian increased his lead to take the win, while Beurey held off a challenge from the Australian in the final few metres, to take silver and Murphy bronze.

The Mosman Rowing Club member said post-race: “There were difficult conditions out there. It’s whoever can row cleaner that will do well today (Sunday).

“For me, I followed my plan up until the last 250m as I had a gap on the next guy and felt quite confident. I had a look around at France and he did a good job to hold me off as we headed for the finish line.”

Wallis Russell’s final saw the Sydney University Boat Club rower push all the way to the line in a bid to claim her first international medal. The Queenslander was quick out the start alongside Great Britain’s Imogen Grant, with duo neck and neck at the halfway mark, however Germany and Switzerland were right behind and still on the pace.

Grant pulled into the lead in the third 500, with Russell overtaken by Germany’s Vera Spanke as the crews began to sprint for the line. In the final 250 metres, Italy’s Clara Guerra came tearing down the outside to cross the line equal third with Russell, with the final result decided by a hundredth of a second, and seeing Russell finish in fourth place.

In the A-Final of the U23 Women’s Double Scull, Harriet Hudson and Ria Thompson were fast out the start but couldn’t keep pace with the eventual race winners, Great Britain. The New South Wales-Victoria combination finished in fifth overall.

Meanwhile, in the A-Final of the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, Australia’s U23 partnership of Verayna Zilm and Georgie Masters were placed fifth in an incredibly fast final that saw Italy crowned World Champions and new Under 23 World’s Best Time holders in the boat class. The Australian Under 23 Women’s Eight finished sixth in their A-Final, with Canada winning the U23 World Championships title for the second year in a row.

The only B-Final to feature an Australian yesterday was the U23 Men’s Single Scull. Swan River Rowing Club’s Sam Marsh finished second in his B-Final to conclude his Word Rowing U23 Championships ranked eighth in the world.

Saturday saw the U23 Women’s Pair finish fifth in the world, the U23 Men’s Coxed Four sixth in the world and the U23 Men’s Pair seventh in the world after winning their B-Final.