Jersey are best Brits at World Championships

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JERSEY proved that it has some of the best coastal rowers on the planet with five athletes putting in strong performances at the World Rowing Coastal Championships.

Leading the way in Wales was Laima Pacekajute, who finished ninth in the A final of the women’s singles race – placing her in the top ten of the world’s best female coastal rowers and the number one British rower.

France’s Jessica Berra took the title ahead of favourite Diana Dymchenko of Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, Des Nevitt finished 13th in the men’s singles A final.

Like Pacekajute, Nevitt was the leading British representative, meaning that Jersey rowers are the top men’s and women’s solo coastal rowers in Britain.

The men’s race was won by Ireland’s Adrian Miramon Quiroga.

Narrowing missing out on a A final placing in the women’s doubles, Taye Le Monnier and Kirsten West stormed to victory in their B final, and Paul Coutanche put in a strong performance to finish sixth in the men’s singles B final.

The racing conditions at the championships, held at Saundersfoot in Pembrokeshire, were mostly difficult, with strong winds and very choppy seas for much of the weekend.

Pacekajute said: ‘It was an incredible weekend for me – the challenging sea conditions worked in my favour and I got through to the A final quite comfortably, finishing sixth with nine from my heat going through to the final.

‘The A final offered even more challenge with a change in wind direction, making the course truly difficult to get through and resulting in distance reduction from 6k to 4k.

‘It was inspiring to watch some river rowers manage these true coastal conditions and really showed that, as coastal rowers, we still need to be diverse enough to cope with the rough as well as the flat water.

‘I lost count of rowers in the A final and was absolutely made up when my coach Ian Blandin met me at the finish line saying I made the world’s top ten with tears in his eyes.

‘I could not be happier and feel like there is much more I could give, too. It provided a great dose of motivation to try harder.’

Nevitt said: ‘I’m over the moon with my performance. To out-row guys I’ve looked up to and followed for years has made all the hard graft worth it.

‘Getting into the A final was my goal and anything after that was a bonus. Thirteenth in the world is my best finish to date. Big credit to the other Jersey crews and support who travelled here and Jersey Rowing Club as a whole.’Now my focus is on the World Beach Sprints next week in Saundersfoot, when I’ll be representing Great Britain. I now have a week of training with the GB squad and fingers crossed we will be strong contenders.’

All the local rowers, who were representing Great Britain, are members of the Jersey Rowing Club.

JRC vice-captain Gary Briggs said: ‘The athletes and coaches have put in an incredible amount of hard work and effort, and everyone is very proud of what they’ve achieved.

‘The club has long had a presence on the international stage, and with the existing athletes and those coming through, the future is certainly looking bright. There’s been a real buzz around the club during the event, with everyone supporting and cheering for them from afar.

‘Many of those who competed at the World Rowing Coastal Championships in Wales will also be racing at the invitational European Rowing Coastal Championships in Spain at the end of October.

‘Joined by even more club athletes who were selected for the event, Jersey Rowing Club crews make up two thirds of all of Great Britain’s entries.’

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