26 November 2016
On Friday evening, British Rowing held a GB Rowing Team Award dinner. As Great Britain topped the rowing medal tables in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games – taking three golds in each as well as two Olympic silvers and a Paralympic bronze – there was, indeed, a lot to celebrate this evening.
Among the award winners were prominent British Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Katherine Grainger, GB’s most decorated Olympian, was awarded the British Rowing Medal of Honour in recognition of her service to the sport of rowing over the past two decades. At the Rio Games, Grainger took her fourth Olympic silver medal after winning gold in London four years ago.
Mohamed Sbihi, a member of the men’s gold four in Rio, was awarded the British Olympic Association Trophy as the Olympic male athlete of the year. On the women’s side, Frances Houghton was awarded the British Olympic Association Trophy as the Olympic female athlete of the year. Houghton, who made her GB Junior debut back in 1995, took her third silver medal at a fifth Olympic Games racing in the women’s eight at Rio.
The British Paralympic Association Trophy for Paralympic athlete of the year went to Lauren Rowles, 18, who won gold in the mixed double sculls together with Laurence Whiteley at Rio.
The next generation of potential Olympians was also honoured at the dinner, with World U23 Championship gold medallist Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne and silver medallist James Rudkin taking the Mark Lees Foundation awards for most promising U23 rowers. Colin Williamson, head of performance rowing at the University of Edinburgh, was named the outstanding development coach of the year.
‘We’ve had some great junior and U23 results this year. They’re always important but they’re especially important this year, so it’s been really good to see so many stepping into the senior squad down at Caversham now,’ Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director, said.
Sir David added: ‘The seniors, well, we topped the medal table at the European Championships, topped the medal table at the World Championships, the Paralympics and the Olympics. I’m not a very boastful person, but I think that’s very good.
‘The rowers are the most exceptional ambassadors, not only for the sport of rowing but for their country.’
Editor’s note: This piece was prepared from an article on Rowing Britain’s website.