Will Satch goes for World Championship glory eight months after heart surgery

Rio 2016 gold medallist in Great Britain men's eight in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Will Satch will row for Britain in the men's eight final at the World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

But it has been a long road back to the top for the 29-year-old.

Satch had surgery to correct atrial fibrilation, which caused days-long periods of his heart beating abnormally quickly, in January.

Tweet from Will Satch after his heart operation in January
Tweet from Will Satch after his heart operation in JanuaryTweet from Will Satch after his heart operation in January

Peace of mind

Satch had suffered with the condition since he was a teenager, but the episodes became more serious last year.

One attack came during the warm-up for the semi-finals at last year's World Championships in Sarasota, USA.

The London 2012 men's pair bronze medallist had to sit out the race, and Britain ended up missing out on a place in the final.

A week after his operation, he told the Henley Standard: "I decided that if I wanted to keep rowing I could not go on with the way it was. It gets a lot worse through intense, endurance exercise.

"It feels horrible. It’s like having a four-piston car and you pull out one of the pistons and it runs like hell." - Olympic champion rower Will Satch on his atrial fibrilation

"As soon as it goes back in then I feel absolutely fine and normal. When it happens during exercise it feels pretty horrific.

"It has been trying to go at 200 beats a minute and then stopping and starting."

After consulting his girlfriend, a doctor, he had the operation which looks to have been successful.

Satch was back training within weeks but collapsed at the British national team trials in April.

Thankfully, the exertion did not cause a relapse of his racing heartbeat.

"In a way I feel stronger now. I didn’t go into atrial fibrillation again, even though I pushed myself past the limit." - Will Satch talking to the Daily Telegraph in May

German rivalry

Satch was part of the Team GB eight that won gold at Rio 2016.

Germany have dominated the event since, and are strong favourites to retain the world title they won last year in Florida.

With Satch back in the stroke seat (nearest the cox) and fellow Olympic champions Moe Sbihi and Tom Ransley also in the boat, Britain were hopeful of challenging their European rivals.

But they had to come through the repechage to reach Sunday's final and it will take a mighty effort to even get on the podium in this fiercely competitive event.

GB's rowing team win gold in Men's Eight

GB's rowing team win gold in Men's Eight

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