Two Inverness club members were part of Team GB which won a total of ten medals at the world rowing championships which took place on the Bosbaan rowing lake in Amsterdam from Sunday 24th till Sunday 31st August.
Facing strong opposition from top international athletes from other nations were 2014 world cup gold medallist Imogen Walsh from Inverness and 2014 world cup silver medallist Alan Sinclair from Belmaduthy in Ross-shire.
In the men's coxed pair event with team mate Scott Durant and cox Henry Fieldman, Alan Sinclair qualified directly into the final by soundly winning their heat by three lengths ahead of the chasing pack. In challenging tailwind conditions in the final the GB pair went to the line knowing that the New Zealanders, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond and their cox, were the ones to watch. The Antipodean duo were defending men's pair champions and were doubling up in an attempt to win both coxed and coxless pair events which had last been achieved in 2001 by Olympic and World champions Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell. Germany, winners of the event at the Lucerne world cup by just half a second from Sinclair, Durant and Fieldman, could also pose a threat.
The GB pair were quickest off the line and were the early race leader with South Africa also showing well. Soon, though, the Kiwis were up on their shoulders. At 500 metres gone the Kiwis led by a few tenths of a second and then stretched that lead out to two-thirds of a length. Germany came up into third place. By halfway the New Zealanders had moved off into a clear lead to win and set a world best time, leaving the more interesting battle for silver and bronze in their wake. The GB combination was still holding Germany at bay and then moved out to a clear water lead. As the crews moved up to the picnic area and roared on by the crowd Sinclair, Durant and Fieldman were cementing their lead and racing towards silver which they won in 6:43.45 and in doing so, closely matched the previous world best time set in 1994 by Croatia.
BBC Commentator and 1992 Olympic champion cox Gary Herbert said 'That was a great performance from Sinclair and Durant to win silver. It was always going to be a hard task to win gold because Kiwis Eric Murray and Hamish Bond have been so dominant in men's pair events. To beat them, you need to get a length ahead at 500 metres - and no one has ever managed to do that to the Kiwis '. Sinclair said 'We knew they would push out in front after 500 metres. We anticipated that and kept our focus very much on our own race '. Durant said 'The second kilometre was challenging '. Fieldman added 'The water was bouncy and it was quite hard to steer. We've come away from this championship rowing well with a good job, well done '.
In the women's lightweight double sculls event, Imogen Walsh and her crew mate Kat Copeland qualified directly into their semi-final by easily winning their heat. Olympic champion Kat Copeland has been back in international action this season for the first time since winning gold with Sophie Hosking at London 2012. Part of a very competitive lightweight women's training group Copeland has been competing with World 2013 finalist Imogen Walsh. The duo won European bronze and then two world cup gold medals earlier this season.
In their semi-final they were drawn alongside the defending World Champions Laura Milani and Elisabetta Sancassani of Italy who were fourth in the last world cup final. Australians Alice McNamara and Ella Flecker, silver medallists behind GB in Lucerne, were on the other side. Walsh and Copeland were tucked behind the leading Australians in the early part of the race. Italy were well placed, with the Americans, to track the leading crews. Australia opened up a strong lead by halfway - a length up on the GB duo with Italy in third - before Copland and Walsh put in a push to get the overlap and then cut the lead to half a length. In the final 500m the Italians came up strongly on the British who in turn attacked the Australian lead but could not find enough to get through. Canada came flying up the grandstand side to take everyone by surprise to win in 7:04.26. Copeland and Walsh were left in an agonising fourth place and out of the 'A' final.
Walsh and Copeland then parked their despair at not qualifying for Sunday's 'A' final by smashing their way home in the 'B' final. Poland led the race for the first half but were then overhauled by Walsh and Copeland who went on to win by clear water in 6:49.16 and in doing so set a new world best time for their event.