GB Lightweight boats qualify for Olympic finals for first time

TeamGB’s lightweight men’s double of
Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter alongside
the lightweight men’s four of James Clarke,
James Lindsay-Fynn, Paul Mattick and
Richard Chambers have made history today
by becoming the first GB lightweight
crews ever to qualify for an Olympic final.

Purchase and Hunter won their semi-final
and will now line-up for Sunday’s final unbeaten
this year. They took the race on from the front
and held off all challangers to win by over
half a length.

"We used our strength and skill just to get in
front and keep it long and strong", said Hunter
after the race.

The lightweight men’s four, who are reigning world
champions, were third in a tough semi-final today to make
Sunday’s start-line. They led the race out
from the start to make their qualifying slot
safe and paid the price in the final 500m.

"We knew it would be like an Olympic final
today", added James Lindsay-Fynn because their
semi-final included the world championship silver
and bronze medallists from 2007 as well as
Denmark who are reigning Olympic champions.
"The French came at us in the second half, as they
normally do, and today we didn’t have the cohesion
to respond".

TeamGB’s lightweight women’s double scull
of Hester Goodsell and Helen Casey could not find
the pace they needed to get in the top three
of their semi-final and will now contest a B final

TeamGB now has 10 from 12 boats and 39 from
43 athletes in Olympic finals – testament to the strength in
depth which has been made possible over the
past four years through both lottery funding and

"The focus today has been our first ever
lightweight Olympic finalists", said TeamGB
rowing leader David Tanner. "I’m really pleased to
show the success of our lightweight programme
this Olympiad. For two of our three lightweight crews
to make the A finals is a tremendous achievement
for the athletes concerned but also for our coaches
and the support staff. The lightweight success
has added to a great performance of the team overall
which has been backed considerably by lottery and
other funding".

Tomorrow’s TeamGB A finalists are:

15.50 Men’s single

16.10 Women’s pair

16.50 Women’s double scull

17.10 Men’s double scull

17.30 Men’s four

All times are local Beijing times. Beijing is seven hours
ahead of the UK.

=============================== ===============================

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter looked as
if they wanted to lay down a marker to
the world in today’s lightweight men’s double
scull semi-final which they won in 6:29.56
with Italy second and Cuba third.

On a rare day when the mountains provided
a picture postcard backdrop in the sun which
picked out the colours of the flags along the
grandstands, the GB duo set out in a controlled fashion to
crush the field. Every time their blades
moved they they seemed to add a few inches
to their lead.

By the 500m mark they had two-thirds
of a length lead over the chasing pack,
featuring Italy and France amongst others.
At 750m they had a length as Purchase
permitted himself a glance across to
the other lanes and puffed out his cheeks.

By 1000m the margin was over two seconds
as it was again 500m later. The TeamGB crew
were looking strong and smooth into the
light tailwind. By the 1500m mark
the lead was the same and whilst Italy
launched an attack in the final 500m
it was only enough to shorten the winning
margin to around two-thirds of a length.
Still unbeaten this season, Sunday’s final

"It’s always nice to get across the line in the
semi-final and know that you’ve qualified for
the big one. In the final we will face a different
race, I’m sure", said Purchase.

"Today we used our strength and skill to get in
front and keep it long and strong and we could
ease up at the end", said Hunter.

They were followed swiftly down the course
today by TeamGB’s lightweight men’s four who
are the reigning world champions. As the luck
of the draw would have it, they were joined in
today’s semi-final by the silver and bronze medallists
from that race a year ago plus the Danes who
are the reigning Olympic champions.

"It could have been the final", said Paul Mattick
after the race.

"We knew that we had to go out hard from 250 –
750m. Maybe we paid the price in the last 500m",
added James Clarke.

"We were all very nervous on the start as we
knew it would be like an Olympic final today.
We just made sure that we dominated the
early part of the race to get us out of that
awful fight to avoid fourth, fifth and sixth
place", said James Lindsay-Fynn.

The Dutch, Germans and Finns got off to
a fast start in today’s semi-final of the
lightweight women’s double scull but TeamGB’s
Helen Casey and Hester Goodsell were still
in contention. At the 500m mark the Germans
were leading with the Finns and Dutch behind
them and GB in fourth. That second 500m
did the damage from a TeamGB point of view.

By the 1000m mark the margin between Casey
and Goodsell and the leaders had stretched
to almost five seconds. By 1500m it was
clear there was no way back in a race ultimately
won by the Dutch with Finland and Germany
second and third respectively.

"We’re obviously very disappointed", said
Casey afterwards. "We truly believed that
we could make an impact and make the
A final but we’re obviously not at that speed"

=============================== ===============================


(Races featuring GB crews only)



Double scull

1. Kirsten van der Kolk (Netherlands) 7:03.87
2. Senna Sten/Minna Nieminen (Finland) 7:03.91

3. Berit Carow/Marie-Louise Draeger (Germany) 7:04.95

4. Katrin Olsen/Julianne Rasmussen (Denmark) 7:06.31

5. Hester Goodsell/Helen Casey (GREAT BRITAIN) 7:17.67

6. Yaima Velazquez/Ismaray Marrero (Cuba) 7:30.15



1. Denmark 6:05.75

2. France 6:07.26

3. Richard Chambers/James Lindsay-Fynn/Paul Mattick/
James Clarke (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:08.75

4. Ireland 6:13.85

5. Italy 6:14.73

6. USA 6:16.30

Double scull

1. Zac Purchase/Mark Hunter (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:29.56

2. Marcello Miani/Elia Luini (Italy) 6:31.16

3. Eyder Batista/Yunior Perez (Cuba) 6:33.60

4. Jonathan Koch/Manuel Brehmer (Germany) 6:37.07

5. Maximi Goisset/Frederic Dufour (France) 6:41.18

6. Douglas Vandor/Cameron Sylvester (Canada) 6:49.28

=============================== ===============================

Saturday 16 August:


Men’s and women’s single, double and pair and men’s four

B Finals:
Lightweight men’s double and four
Lightweight women’s double

Men’s and women’s quadruple scull

Men’s eight

Sunday 17 August:


Lightweight men’s double and four

Lightweight women’s double

Men’s and women’s quadruple scull and eight

Women’s eight

NB – subject to change. Please see Beijing 2008 website
for up to date information.

=============================== ===============================


Olympic Games 2008, Beijing

(with clubs/home towns/dates of birth)

(listed from bow to stroke as at 7 August)



Carla Ashford (Oxford Brookes BC/Northallerton/13.03.79)

Beth Rodford (Thames RC/Burton-on-Trent/ 28.12.82)

Natasha Page (Reading Uni/Hartpury/30.04.85)

Natasha Howard (Tideway Scullers/West Runton/3.9.80)

Jess Eddie (Uni of London/Durham/07.10.84)

Sarah Winckless (Walbrook & Royal/Henley/18.10.73)

Alison Knowles (Thames RC/ Bournemouth/27.3.82)

Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)

Caroline O’Connor (Oxford Brookes/Ealing/25.04.83) (cox)

Coach: John Keogh

Louisa Reeve (Leander/London/16.05.84)/

Olivia Whitlam (Agecroft/Warrington 16.09.85)

Coach: Rob Morgan

Quad Scull:

Annie Vernon (Marlow RC/Wadebridge/01.09.82)/
Debbie Flood
(Leander Club/Leeds/27.02.80)/
Frances Houghton
(Tyrian Club (Uni of London)/Oxford/19.09.80)/
Grainger (St Andrew BC/Aberdeen/12.11.75)

Coach: Paul Thompson

Double scull:

Elise Laverick (Thames RC/Poling, W.Sussex/27.07.75)/

Anna Bebington (Leander Club/Leek, Staffs/13.2.83)

Coach: Miles Forbes Thomas


Tina Stiller (Nottingham RC/Yarm, N.Yorks/23.6.87)

Alice Freeman (Wallingford RC/Oxford/6.9.78)



Robin Bourne-Taylor (Army RC/Oxford/22.07.81)/
Tom Solesbury
(Molesey BC/Petts Wood, Kent/23.09.80)

Coach: Peter Sheppard

Tom James (Molesey/Wrexham/11.3.84)/
Steve Williams
(Leander Club/Cheltenham/15.04.76)/
Peter Reed (Leander Club/
Nailsworth, Glos/27.07.81)/
Andy Triggs Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden,

Coach: Jurgen Grobler


Alex Partridge (Leander Club/Alton, Hants/25.01.81)/

Tom Stallard (Leander/Welwyn, Herts/11.09.78)/

Tom Lucy (Oxford Brookes/Monmouth/01.05.88)/

Richard Egington (Leander/Knutsford/26.02.79)/

Josh West (Leander/Santa Fe, USA/25.03.77)/

Alastair Heathcote (Army RC/London/18.8.77)/

Matt Langridge(Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/

Colin Smith (Leander/Henley on Thames/23.09.83)/

Acer Nethercott (University College Oxford BC/Harlow/28.11.77)

Coaches: Mark Banks, John West

Single Scull:
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers/Coleraine/9.5.83)

Coach: Bill Barry

Double Scull:

Matt Wells (Leander Club/Hexham, Northumberland/19.4.79)/

Stephen Rowbotham (Leander Club/Winscombe, Somerset/11.11.81)

Coach: Mark Earnshaw

Men’s Alternates*

Tom Parker (Oxford Brookes/Winchester/24.10.82)

Alex Gregory (Reading Uni/Wormington/11.03.84)



Double scull

Hester Goodsell (Reading Uni/Cambridge/27.06.84)

Helen Casey (Wallingford RC/Oxford/06.02.74)/

Coach: Rob Morgan



Richard Chambers (Oxford Brookes/Coleraine/10.06.85)/

James Lindsay-Fynn (London/Trim/29.09.75)/
Paul Mattick
James Clarke (London RC/

Coach: Robin Williams

Double scull

Zac Purchase (Marlow RC/Tewkesbury, Glos/02.05.86)/

Mark Hunter (Leander Club/Romford, Essex/01.07.78)

Coach: Darren Whiter

Lightweight Men’s Alternate*

Rob Williams (London RC/Maidenhead/21.01.1985)

* Alternate=Reserve


Team Leader:
David Tanner

Chief Coaches:
Jurgen Grobler, Paul Thompson

Miles Forbes-Thomas, John Keogh, Robin Williams, Darren Whiter,
Rob Morgan, Bill Barry, Mark Earnshaw, Mark Banks, John West, Peter Sheppard

Support staff:
Maggie Netto, Maurice Hayes.

Medical staff:
Ali Sanders, Mark Edgar

Press officer:
Caroline Searle


All medical/sports science:
Pam Gardner, Gill Edmonson, Ryan Bathurst, Al Smith, Mark Homer,
Chris Shambrook

Jennifer Song

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