BRITISH JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: City boys are the very best of British

Gold medal winners Alex Leverage (left) and James Toynton (right).
Gold medal winners Alex Leverage (left) and James Toynton (right).
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Peterborough City’s future stars brought gold home from the British Junior Championships last weekend (July 16).

Alex Leverage and James Toynton delivered the champion performance in the Open J14 sculls event at Nottingham’s National Water Sports Centre, beating opponents from as far afield as Bristol and Aberdeen.

The contest started with a series of skills tests including standing up and turning round in the boat, rowing backwards towards a target, rocking the boat rapidly from side-to-side and rowing a slalom.

Peterborough’s strong tradition of coaching boat skills really came to the fore as the boys easily outmanoeuvred the vast majority of their 17 opponents.

The scores from the skills tests were combined with the results of a 500 metre time trial and Leverage and Toynton emerged victorious.

Leverage was ‘surprised’ by the win, but coach Rebecca Clephan said she’d expected at least a top three finish.

Junior Co-ordinator Matt Newton said: “We are confident that we are producing competent, highly skilled and fast athletes at Peterborough”.

As well as competing in their double, Leverage and Toynton also took part in the Open J14 single sculls.

Conditions had deteriorated during the event and a strong headwind with gusts of crosswind caused many of the singles to take on water.

Despite this, Leverage finished a very respectable seventh of 54, with Toynton finishing 21st.

Also in action at the weekend were Ben Mackenzie and Harry Masterson. They faced 32 opponents in the Open J15 doubles.

Coming 24th in the time trial would have placed them in the “D” final with a strong chance to improve their position.

However, event organisers were forced to drastically reduce the racing programme as the weather worsened and all finals below ‘B’ level were cancelled.

Conditions were calmer in Zagreb, Croatia, where former Peterborough rower Anna Julia Robotham faced international opponents in the European University Sports Association games.

Robotham’s Oxford University lightweight women’s quad finished less than a third of a second behind Germany’s University of Munster crew. Despite narrowly missing out on silver, the crew were delighted to be able to return home with bronze.