New coach provides a boost

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The Independent Online

Britain's lightweight oarsmen were boosted yesterday when the appointment of Sean Bowden as the new national coach was announced. Bowden took the lightweight eight to the world championship in 1994 and was then transferred to the heavyweight crew for Atlanta.

In his absence the performance of the lightweights slumped: the Olympic double finished 12th and the coxless four 10th, though this failure was, in part, due to the lack of an experienced lightweight coach. Bowden, 33, was head coach at Nottinghamshire County, a main source of lightweight talent, from 1989 to 1994.

The other key oarsmen gravitated to London Club. These two groups were often divided when there was no single person in charge of the programme. He said "We have proved in the past that composite crews work but we must deal sensitively with the clubs. The challenge will be to get the best out of the talent we know is there."

Bowden's appointment depends on a grant from the Lottery Sports Fund Class Performance Programme and will, ideally, continue to the Sydney Olympics. He thinks lightweight performances have improved rapidly since they were admitted to the Olympics and said: "We must organise quickly not to get left behind."