Sbihi and Reed relishing the challenge

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World Champions and Olympic medallists Mohamed Sbihi and Peter Reed are amongst the GB Rowing Team members who are relishing the prospect of the British Rowing Indoor Championships.

With entries due to close today at 10am, the duo head a stellar group who will be heading to Lee Valley VeloPark, the former Olympic Velodrome at Stratford, London, on Sunday February 8..

Sbihi, reigning World Champion in the men’s four and an Olympic medallist in the men’s eight in 2012, said: “I am really looking forward to directly racing the wider rowing community. The beauty of the rowing machine is that anyone can get on it and row. You do not have to be a good rower to be fast on the ergo.

“Indoor rowing has grown massively over the last few years and it is about time we had a national championships to show that. I look forward to being in an Olympic venue competing against my team mates and other indoor rowers”.

Londoner Sbihi took up the sport when he was talent-spotted via the GB Rowing Team Start programme at Hollyfield School in Surbiton. He was coached to early success by Sue McNuff at Molesey Boat Club before transferring into the GB programme.

Reed, Olympic gold winner in 2008 and 2012, said: “The new generation of the British Rowing Indoor Championships has already generated so much excitement in our community. It’s only going to grow”.

Both Reed and Sbihi will take on the classic 2km distance – Sbihi in the open category and Reed in the 30-39 age group category. The world records in both the heavyweight men 19-29 and 30-39 age-group categories are held by Rob Waddell and are 5:38.3 and 5:36.6 respectively. The British Records for the older age group was set by Sir Matthew Pinsent at 5:42.3 in 2004.

Breaking any of the existing records will prove tough for any of the current squad who are still in the midst of some heavy duty winter training.

Olympian and 2011 World medallist, Jess Eddie, will lead the women’s squad entries and she will be joined by four-times Olympic medallist and reigning Olympic Champion Katherine Grainger as well as European Champion Polly Swann.

Eddie said: “I think it’s really exciting to be going to compete in the Velodrome that was such a successful focus in 2012,, and also to get amongst all the rowers of the country. It gives an exciting edge to the dreaded ergo and hopefully we can have a bit of good competitive fun in the relay races”.

The GB Rowing Team’s para-rowing squad will also be in action on the day including World Champion Grace Clough and 2008 Paralympic Champion Tom Aggar.

Clough said: “The Para-Squad and myself are really excited about competing at the British Indoor Championships. With the event being held at such an iconic venue, it’s a great way to showcase the talent we have within the para-squad. I am hoping this event will encourage others with disabilities to give rowing a try”.

Competitors should hurry to enter and claim the remaining places at the event which starts at 9am on Sunday 8th February. Spectator tickets are available. For more information about the event visit: http://indoorchamps.britishrowing.org/

A fuller timetable will be issued on Tuesday (3 February) at 5pm once final entries are known.

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