JO WRATTEN and Zoe Lee have been named in Great Britain’s leading women’s eight crew for next weekend’s World Rowing Cup in Rotterdam.

The third World Cup event of the season is the final international competition before next month’s World Rowing Championships in Austria, which form a key part of the qualification process for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Wratten, who is from Middlesbrough, and Lee, who hails from Richmond, have formed a key part of the eights crew throughout this year, enjoying considerable success as one of the GB team’s flagship boats has highlighted its potential ahead of next year’s Games.

The eight won a silver at the European Championships, and followed that up with a bronze at the second World Cup event.

Britain will be fielding two women’s eights in Rotterdam, and the ‘B’ boat also features some regional representation.

Newcastle’s Samantha Redgrave and Hexham’s Nicole Lamb will attempt to thrust themselves into Olympic contention with a strong showing in the second boat.

Alnwick’s Sam Courty competes alongside Annie Withers in the women’s pair, while Newcastle University student James Rudkin is part of the men’s eight.

Away from the regional interest, Rio silver medallist Vicky Thornley will be aiming to continue her return to form after finishing seventh at the European Championships and fifth at the second World Cup.

The European bronze medal-winning men’s quad of Jonny Walton, Angus Groom, Jack Beaumont and Pete Lambert will be heading to Rotterdam with a point to prove after missing out on podium spots at the World Cup, as will the European gold medal-winning men’s four of Ollie Cook, Matt Rossiter, Rory Gibbs and Sholto Carnegie

British Rowing director of performance Brendan Purcell, who is responsible for the Olympic, Paralympic and Under-23 programmes, said: “Our priority for the 2019 season is to qualify as many boats as possible for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, so this third World Cup is our last opportunity to test ourselves against the rest of the world before the qualification regatta at the World Championships.

“The squad heading out to Rotterdam is a fantastic mix of youth and experience. Our medal-winning boats from the European Championships and second World Cup will be aiming to achieve podium performances once again, while providing another opportunity for all the boats to close the gap between them and the podium.”

Jurgen Grobler, chief coach of both the men’s and women’s squad, added: “This is a qualifying year and the Olympics is a big attraction for everyone in the world so the competition is tough.

“We need to get our mental and physical preparation to peak at the right time for the World Championships.”