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Ellie Piggott looking forward to building on lightweight double’s fifth-place finish

Ellie Piggott and Emily Craig were in the mix for the medals a in the lightweight women’s double sculls final at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv

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Emily Craig and Ellie Piggott at the 2018 World Rowing Championships (Naomi Baker)

Great Britain were leading the lightweight women’s double sculls World Championships final for nearly 1,000m on Saturday; not that Ellie Piggott in the bow seat realised at the time.

Piggott and Emily Craig eventually finished fifth overall – an incredible performance given the absence of Craig to injury since after World Cup 1 in June.

Racing in lane one in the final, the British duo were the ones to set the early pace in a very evenly matched field. By the halfway mark eventual winners Romania had taken pole position but the Brits refused to back off, leaving every ounce of energy on the water in their last race of the season.

And Piggott says for much of the race she wasn’t looking at where her rivals were placed, preferring to keep her eyes in the boat and executing their gameplan.

“We’re really pleased with our execution given the season we’ve had. We’ve not had much racing, so there was very much an internal focus on that race,” she said.

“I wasn’t aware of our position, for good or bad, for a lot of it – I don’t think it’s a good thing in a final to be looking out of the boat a lot. We did a good job of staying in our boat and putting together a good race.

“Ultimately that wasn’t enough for a medal but it’s a tight field and to have made the A final was pretty awesome. And anyway, if we weren’t going to get a medal I’d rather be in the race like we were and just miss out than not being in it at all.”

Piggott and Craig formed part of the gold medal-winning lightweight women’s quad at the 2016 World Championships and have now shown their potential in the Olympic-class lightweight double.

And with their 2018 season now completed, Piggott is looking forward to some time away from training but retains the underlying hunger to return stronger for her experiences in 2019 and beyond.

“Next year is [Olympic] qualification year, which is really important looking ahead to Tokyo,” she said.

“There are seven boats that qualify [at the 2019 World Championships] so to be in a qualifying position this year, given the season we’ve had, is awesome. That said, each year the race and the speed moves on.

“We’ve got a three-week break now with some decompression and a holiday and then hitting next season. I’m really proud of what we’ve put together today and looking forward to improving on that next year.”