GREAT Britain have 20 boats in action at the World Championships in Bulgaria – with eight flying the flag for Oxfordshire, writes John Wiggins.

Two former schoolmates, Matt Rossiter and Ollie Cook, who started in the sport as 14-year-olds at Abingdon School are back together in the pair.

Cook has since added a Boat Race victory for Oxford and the duo aim for a medal having qualified direct from the heats to the quarter-finals.

While a place in the A final is realistic it will require a supreme performance to reach the podium.

Former Radley College pupils, Tom George and Ollie Wynne-Griffiths are in the eight, along with Oxford Brookes’s Matt Tarrant, and hold every chance of a medal.

Another Abingdon schoolboy, Jamie Copus, doubled his local status by continuing his education at Oxford Brookes and races in the lightweight double scull, where second place in Sunday’s heat took them through to the quarter-finals.

A pair of locals have been regulars in the women’s eight for the past two years.

Fiona Gammond was at Headington School while Anastasia Chitty had her first rowing experience at the Dragon School and then returned to Oxford University, gaining four winning rowing Blues.

Like the men’s eight, this boat can realistically dream of a medal.

Other Oxford Blues include Zoe Lee, a silver medallist in the eight at Rio, who now races in the quad scull.

This crew has not been able to race in a consistent combination over the summer, but a solid second place in the heat pushed them directly through to the semi-final.

Erin Wysocki-Jones coxed Chitty’s winning 2014 Oxford boat and now steers the strong gold medal prospects in the PR3 adaptive mixed gender coxed four.

This boat seeks its eighth successive gold medal and a confident win in the heat has done nothing to dispel this.

Ellie Piggot is a lightweight sculler who moved on to Wallingford Rowing Club after two Boat Race victories with Oxford and features in the GB double scull.

Over the summer this combination has been thwarted by injury and hopefully we shall see a steady improvement through the championships having qualified for the semi-finals through the repechage.

Another lightweight boat having to pursue the challenge through the repechage is the quad with Gemma Hall, also from Wallingford RC.

The races, in Plovdiv, continue

until Sunday.