LAUREN Rowles saw her hard work pay off after winning World Championship gold in Belgrade, Serbia following a bruising training regime.
The Bromsgrove rower, 25, teamed up with birthday boy Gregg Stevenson to earn victory in a thrilling PR2 mixed double sculls final.
The British pair won gold under serious pressure from China’s Liu Shang and Jiang Jijian.
Rowles and Stevenson held firm to add to the European crown they secured earlier this year and put the 25-year-old back on top of the World Championship podium for the first time since 2019.
Rowles said: “Gregg and I have trained for this all season and put ourselves in the toughest conditions back at Caversham.
“Thursday is known as the hardest day to train there and we have been there every Thursday, Gregg has been driving down from Manchester, and those conditions were like British conditions back home.
“In the middle, the Chinese started pushing us but we thought ‘this is our day, this is our gold medal’.
“They are phenomenal athletes, I raced them in Tokyo and they drove us out hard there. I know they will push us and that’s what we want, we want tight races spectators will enjoy to see.”
The pair’s performances in Serbia have earned Great Britain a Paralympic quota place in their class.
And Rowles is looking for a third successive gold at the event when it heads to Paris next summer.
Victories in Rio and Tokyo came alongside Laurence Whiteley but she has adapted quickly to life with her new partner in the boat.
Rowles added: “Gregg is the most phenomenal man. He has been through hell and back and turns up every day with a smile on his face.
“He is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. He has done this today for his wife, Mel, and his two boys, on his birthday. They, and everybody who helps us, deserve this.”
British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the team, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/