British rowers strike gold in Belgrade

Britain's rowers took a confident first step towards London 2012 by winning 12 medals, including four golds, in Olympic classes at the World Cup in Belgrade.

The first of three World Cups saw British wins in the men's four, men's and women's doubles sculls and the women's pair, with six silver medals and two bronzes added to the haul.

"It's been a very good day," said performance director David Tanner. "To win 12 medals from 12 starts is as good if not better than I would have hoped before coming here."

He added: "It was a good field here but we know there are more teams to come in for the next World Cups so we will not be sitting back on our laurels from here."

Perhaps most encouraging is the progress of the men's four with the team of Alex Gregory, Tom James, Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge seeming to blend well as they won Sunday's final and Saturday's semi-final comfortably.

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, the Olympic and world champions, held off a spirited Greek challenge to take gold in the lightweight double scull.

World champions Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger beat a strong German pairing in the women's double scull and Heather Stanning and Helen Glover won gold in the women's pair.

The silvers were won by the lightweight women's double of Sophie Hosking and Kat Copeland, Alan Campbell in the men's single, George Nash and William Satch in the men's pair, the men's eight and the lightweight men's four of Chris Bartley, Rob Williams and brothers Richard and Peter Chambers.

The women's eight and quadruple scull were GB's bronze medallists.

Tanner added: "Whilst proud of the whole team I guess I'm particularly excited by the performances of our two new male crews - the men's pair and double scull who both won silvers - we knew they were talented but you don't know how they are going to perform in this kind of hot-house."