Gold For Four, Silver for Purchase

Who said it would be unlucky thirteenth? The British men’s four, sponsored by Camelot, won their thirteenth consecutive international race of this year and took the World Championships title with it in Gifu, Japan, today in a time of 6:11.59 and in a race they led from early on holding off the Dutch and Canadians at the finish.

"They all threw everything at us in the middle of the race but Steve (Williams) just called it and we didn’t let up", said Alex Partridge – who today, with Williams, Andy Hodge and Peter Reed, became world champion after last year missing out on the Olympics because of a punctured lung.

"We found our rhythm in that second half and the others tried to put us under pressure but it didn’t work", added Williams.

Britain’s Zac Purchase, a 19 year-old from Gloucester, had earlier won lightweight single silver to add to the world U23 title he earned in July.

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"This has come completely out of the blue", he said. "It’s a big surprise but I’m really pleased with it.

Elise Laverick and Debbie Flood, were fifth in the women’s double scull and Jo Hammond was fourth in the lightweight women’s single.

Britain’s adaptive (disability) four also won gold today in a time of 8:12.07 in windy conditions.

"Our men’s four performance today was exceptional.  This was always going to be a hard call despite their early season success and, with a blistering third quarter, they were able to destroy the challenging Dutch and Canadian crews to produce one of the best gold medals in the long history of GB men’s fours.  They are worthy successors to our Athens crew", said GB Team manager David Tanner.

"It’s always exciting to have a new kid on the block and honours in that category go to  Zac Purchase – just out of juniors – already world U23 champion and now silver medallist in the world senior lightweight single. What  a great start to a senior career", he added.

"Today was also the day for the adaptive finals and once again our mixed coxed four took gold with a very creditable performance".

Rob Holliday was fifth in the adaptive (disability) single.  Considered a strong medal prospect, his campaign here was wrecked when the classification category was reinterpreted on the eve of the Championships.

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RACE REPORTS

The British men’s four used their trademark tactics of storming into a lead early in their World Championships final today.  They were tracked by the Netherlands and Canada with the USA, considered one of the main threats, dropping back early in the race.

The question was, could they hold onto their shape under any pressure which might be thrown their way in the second part of the race? An answer to the chasing Dutch and Canadians came between 1000-1500m when the British turned up the speed.

"I can’t tell you how good it feels", said Alex Partridge afterwards.  "We’ve set a trend all season.  We have dominated every race. It’s what we do best.  It’s nice to get that win under our belts and next year, when Eton-Dorney hosts the World Championships, it will be fantastic to try again in front of a home crowd".

"That will be a great opportunity", added Williams, now a world as well as Olympic champion. "It’s an opportunity that not even Steve Redgrave had.  It will be great to go there as world champions".

12 months ago Zac Purchase was sitting on the start at the world junior championships. In that 12 months, and now just turned 19, he has since won won world U23 gold, and taken world cup senior silver.

Today, in Gifu, Japan, he won a spectacular senior world championships silver medal in the lightweight single scull.

Purchase challenged strongly from the outset even though he was racing in lane one.  Greece’s Vasileios Polymeros made a move at the midpoint of the race which was enough to put him ahead and give him eventual gold.  Purchase gradually overhauled Tim Eichmann of Switzerland and then held off a finishing burst from Fabrice Moreau of France to take second in 7:23.10.

"I’m really pleased.  I came here to see what I could do after winning under 23 gold.  Out in lane one today I just got on with my own job. I expected the Greek to be tough and to be quick because he’s an Olympic medallist. But with 500m to go I suddenly thought, " can do this", I can get a medal. It’s a big surprise".

Considered an outside medal chance the women’s double scull of Elise Laverick and Debbie Flood were disappointed with their fifth place today.

They started strongly and were lying in third for much of the first half of the race.  Ahead of them were the New Zealanders and Bulgarians who were always favourites to take gold and silver between them.  The top two crews pulled away as predicted and New Zealand won that battle to take the gold.

Behind them the British tussled with the Australians but it became clear that Flood and Laverick lacked the power and strength in the final 500m to make it count. At the line the Australians took bronze and Germany rowed through Britain to finish fourth.

Jo Hammond did not go out fast with the leading group at the beginning of the lightweight single scull final here today.  Out in lane one she picked up her pace in a measured rhythm to be within three seconds of the leaders at 500m and 1000m.

Experienced Dutchwoman Marit van Eupen had by then established a lead which never lessened.  She went on to win in 8:07.39.  Benedicte Luzuy-Dorfman of France was second.

As the crews raced past the Grandstands, Hammond put in a finishing push but it was not enough to get ahead of the fast-finishing Teresa Mas de Xaxars Rivero of Spain who took the bronze.

In a gradually strengthening wind Britain’s mixed adaptive (disability) four won their final today in Gifu with style.  Racing for the first time over 2000m at this level they had been working on their power over the winter. That counted from the 1000m mark where they gradually shook off Portugal, the early leaders, to win in 8:12.07.

"We knew Portugal would go out strongly", said Alan Crowther.  "But we just kept our cool", added Katie George Dunlevy who has competed today despite a rib fracture sustained in training. Her crew-mate Naomi Riches was more emotional than most over the victory because she was knocked down by a car last Autumn and was seriously injured.

"In October I didn’t know whether I was going to live or die so the win today means so much", she said.

B FINAL REPORTS

Britain’s men’s pair of Phil Simmons and Tom Broadway have recovered well here from the disappointment of not winning seats in the GB eight.  They raced strongly to reach the semi-final. Today they were fourth in the B Final in a time of 6:52.89.

Annie Vernon completed her first senior World Championships in the world’s top ten after finishing third in the women’s open single scull B Final and ninth overall here. Vernon was still challenging strongly  at the end of a race won by Australia.  She came through Iva Obradovic of Serbia & Montenegro to take third in 7:57.08.

In the equivalent men’s B Final Colin Smith of Great Britain  was sixth in a tight sprint to the line for the minor placings in a time of 7:08.71.

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
GIFU, JAPAN
RESULTS DAY SIX
(Races involving British crews only)

FINALS

OPEN

WOMEN

Double scull
1.  Georgina and Caroline Evers Swindell (New Zealand)
7:08.03
2.  Rumyana Neykova/Miglena Markova (Bulgaria)  7:10.92
3.  Amber Bradley/Sally Kehoe (Australia)  7;22.86
4.  Magdalena Schmude/Christiane Huth (Germany)  7:26.02
5.  Elise Laverick/Debbie Flood (GREAT BRITAIN)  7:31.20
6.  Laura Schiavone/Elisabetta Sancassani (Italy)  7:32.60

MEN

Four
1.  Steve Williams/Peter Reed/Alex Partridge/Andy Hodge
(GREAT BRITAIN)  6:11.59
2.  Netherlands 6:13.23
3.  Canada 6:16.02
4.  Denmark 6:20.63
5.  USA 6:21.42
6.  New Zealand 6:26.83

LIGHTWEIGHT

WOMEN

Single scull

1. Marit van Eupen (Netherlands)  8:07.39
2.  Benedicte Luzuy-Dorfman (France)  8:10.53
3.  Teresa Rivero Mas de Xaxars (Spain)  8:12.71
4.  Jo Hammond (GREAT BRITAIN) 8:13.61
5.  Laura Tasch (Germany)  8:14.01
6.  Ismaray Aria Marrero (Cuba)  8:18.23

MEN

Single scull

1.  Vasileios Polymeros (Greece)  7:17.79
2.  Zac Purchase (GREAT BRITAIN)  7:23.10
3.  Fabrice Moreau (France)  7:23.97
4.  Tim Eichmann (Switzerland)  7:25.01
5.  Gerard van der Linden (Netherlands)  7:35.80
6.  Ingo Euler (Germany)  7:53.83

B FINALS

OPEN

WOMEN

Single scull
1.  Kerry Hore (Australia)  7:47.93
2.  Peggy Waleska (Germany)  7:51.35
3.  Annie Vernon (GREAT BRITAIN)  7:57.08
4.  Iva Obradovic (Serbia & Montenegro)  7:59.11
5.  Adriana Geyser (South Africa)  8:08.50
6.  Kristiana Rode-Gulova (Latvia)  8:14.94

MEN

Pair
1.  Tobias Kuehne/Jan Herzog (Germany)  6:43.47
2.  Gregor Novak/Bostjan Bozic (Slovenia)  6:45.32
3.  Christian Ryan/Karsten Forsterling (Australia0  6:49.76
4.  Tom Broadway/Phil Simmons (GREAT BRITAIN)  6:52.89
5.  Tomas Karas/Jan Ventruba (Czech Republic)  6:53.16
6.  Germain Chardian/Benjamin Rondeau (France)  6:57.45

Single scull
1.  Sjoerd Hamburger (Netherlands)  6:58.17
2.  Lassi Karonen (Sweden)  7:01.38
3.  David Crawshay (Australia)  7:04.46
4.  Nikola Stojic (Serbia & Montenegro)  7:05.36
5.  Ariel Suarez (Argentina)  7:07.23
6.  Colin Smith (GREAT BRITAIN)  7:08.71

ADAPTIVE

Four
1.  Alastair Mckean/Naomi Riches/Katie-George
Dunlevy/Alan Crowther/Loretta Williams (GREAT
BRITAIN)  8:12.07
2.  Portgual 8:22.85
3.  Netherlands 8:23.52
4.  Germany 8:47.79
5.  Hong Kong 9:09.68
6.  Italy 9:49.13

Single

1.  Dominic Monypenny (Australia)  6:28.82
2.  Marco Re Calegari (Italy)  6:31.99
3.  Ron Harvey (USA) 7:08.00
4.  Jaroslav Hellebrand (Czech Republic)  7:31.42
5.  Rob Holliday (GREAT BRITAIN)  7:48.36
6.  Vassilios Exarhos (Greece)  11;15.58

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