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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 15:51 UK

Hodge returns for Beijing warm-up

ROWING WORLD CUP III, POZNAN
Dates: 20-22 June
BBC Coverage: Finals on 22 June live on BBCi and BBC Sport website 1030-1300 BST; BBC TWO and BBC Sport website 1300-1415 BST


Williams, Reed and Hodge have been together for four years

Strokeman Andy Hodge will return to the Great Britain coxless four for the last major event before the Olympics.

But Tom James's slow recovery from back trouble means that the first-choice line-up will not race before Beijing.

Colin Smith, Hodge's replacement when the four struggled two weeks ago, is in contention for the eight for the World Cup event in Poznan from 20 June.

Meanwhile, the women's quad have been forced to enter a men's race in the UK after their event was cancelled.

Andy Hodge shows how to get the best out of the rowing machine

Great Britain won five golds in the opening World Cup event of the season in Munich.

But they managed just one - the men's lightweight double of Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter - in the next regatta in Lucerne.

The men's four failed even to reach the final - the first time in a decade that has happened - while the top women's boat, the quadruple scull, finished third behind China and the USA.

However, Hodge's return from a back injury reunites the crew that won in spectacular fashion in Munich, with Tom Lucy substituting for fellow Welshman James, alongside Peter Reed and Steve Williams.

"Tom James is doing well but we need to be careful. Beijing is our ultimate aim," said team boss David Tanner.

Single sculler Alan Campbell, who won in Munich and came fourth in Lucerne, will miss the event in Poland as he overcomes a virus and a knee injury.

606: COMMENT
Frances Houghton - GB quad

The world champion women's quad had hoped for a chance to rebound from their defeat in Lucerne.

But their event in Poland was cancelled due to lack of entries with many countries, including China, choosing to miss the event and concentrate on the Olympics.

Instead they will race against men's quads at Marlow Regatta on the same weekend.

"It's great that we can give them a chance to race against crews of a similar speed in the UK," said Mike Spencer-Jones, honorary secretary of the Marlow Regatta.

"The elite quads category should be a competitive event for with overseas crews also expected to race."

In Poznan, Anna Bebington and Elise Laverick will race in the women's double scull for the second successive regatta, while Sarah Winckless - a bronze medallist in the double in Athens - will move into the eight.

Bebington and Laverick were bronze medallists at last year's World Championships but Bebington is only just returning to full fitness after a virus.

Helen Casey and Hester Goodsell will race in the lightweight women's double scull as coach Robin Williams continues to experiment with his top line-up.

The men's eight crew to race in Poznan will be named closer to the event, with 10 names on the short-list.


see also
Coxless four lead GB medal haul
11 May 08 |  Rowing
Team GB for Beijing
21 May 08 |  Team GB
Rowing on the BBC
13 May 08 |  Rowing


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