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Andy Hodge aiming for a golden hat-trick of world titles
Hebden rower Andy Hodge is chasing his third World Rpwing Championship gold medal.
The 34-year-old, who already has medals from the global championships as part of the men’s four in 2005 and 2006, is through to Sunday’s men’s eight final in South Korea.
The Great Britain octet have won World Cup rounds in Sydney and Eton Dorney this year but finished fourth in the latest round in Lucerne.
Hodge has familiar company in the boat as he is alongside fellow 2012 men’s four gold medallists Pete Reed and Alex Gregory, plus Daniel Ritchie, Tom Ransley, Mohamed Sbihi, George Nash, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill.
Nash and Sbihi are Molesey Boat Club colleagues of Hodge, who has also had the agony of finishing runner-up three times in the World Championship men’s pairs in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
However, Gregory, who has just become a dad for the second time, helped Great Britain qualify stylishly for Sunday’s finals at Chungju.
They won their heat on Monday in 5min 32.77sec to progress, along with the United States.
Britain’s qualification was a big step on from the way they raced at the season’s final World Cup in Lucerne and underlined the benefit all the Great Britain crews have gained from their summer training camps.
Satch, racing in his first World Championships, is stroking the boat in Chungju and was clearly pleased with the performance.
He said: “It was really good, we have buttoned down something we have done in training. Now we’ve got to focus on the final.”
Ritchie, who narrowly missed racing in this class at the Olympics last year through injury, added: “We did a really good job but it’s not over yet.
“We might have bragging rights over the USA in the teams’ hotel but it is all about the final.”
The Great Britain men’s eight were quick off the start and had built a half-length lead by 500 metres over France and then the United States.
With the sun beating on their backs, the crew had two seconds on their nearest challengers by halfway.
America won the final in the World Cup in Lucerne and there was a sense that the psychology of this race was important.
In the final 500 metres, Great Britain’s crew kept their shape and style and rowed onwards to the win.
The United States, with a sliver of an overlap, took second and France went to the repechage, again by a small margin, in third place.
BBC are televising the championships on Sunday from 7am-9am on the red button or there is a highlights programme on BBC2 from 3pm-4.30pm.
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