Bedford duo earn Olympic call-up

Charlotte Taylor and Katherine Copeland
Charlotte Taylor and Katherine Copeland

Bedford’s Charlotte Taylor and Phelan Hill have been named in the GB Rowing Team for the Olympics in Rio later this year.

The British Olympic Association (BOA) announced 43 of the 47 rowers who will represent Team GB at this summer’s Games, as Taylor will join up with Olympic lightweight women’s double scull champion Katherine Copeland, who is seeking to defend her crown.

Copeland won her gold alongside Sophie Hosking in London 2012, but both her and Taylor were World Championship silver medallists last year.

Meanwhile, Hill will cox the Men’s Eight once more, as he was part of the crew who won bronze in 2012.

Both will continue their countdown to Rio 2016 this weekend when they represent the GB Rowing Team at the Poznan World Cup in Poland – the last big international test before the Olympic Games.

Taylor is back in action with Copeland in the lightweight women’s double scull after being rested for last month’s World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Three-times World champion Hill will once again cox the men’s eight, who are looking to improve on third and fourth-placed finishes so far this season.

On her selection and this weekend’s event, Taylor, who will make her Olympic debut just six years after taking up rowing as a hobby, said: “It feels amazing.

“It’s a big marker at the end of a long period of selection and trials, and now it feels real.

“It’s the first time for me that Rio feels like an actual event we’ll be going to – because the team is so fiercely competitive, you never really feel like you are there until your name is on that bit of paper.

“I never came into the GB set-up just to be part of the squad, my ambition was always to go to the Olympics. I’m older for a start – I will be 31 at the end of the Olympic regatta – so if I was going to do this, I was going to do it properly.

“To get here is huge and I’m really excited to get out there and see what being an Olympian is like.”