A place of joy and a theatre of pain
Rio’s Lagoa was a place of joy for four GB crews and a theatre of considerable pain for another two today.
Rio’s Lagoa was a place of joy for four Team GB rowing crews and a theatre of considerable pain for two others today.
The weather behaved, the water conditions were more favourable and the sun shone as five-times Olympian Katherine Grainger and her 2016 double scull partner, Vicky Thornley, produced a consummate semi-final to reach Thursday’s final in second place behind Poland in an event which saw the World Champions fall by the wayside in the opposing heat.
Thornley said: “It’s good to come through. Semis are always very tense. We are now looking forward to Thursday and we know that we can do more and better”.
Grainger added: “We always said that we would take this regatta one race at a time and we have been doing that. When it was all over today we both said we could have done better, so that’s promising”.
Two rookie Team GB Olympic crews – the men’s pair and men’s double – also moved into the finals. Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes, European silver medallists, said that they could improve on their men’s pair heat and they did. Taking second place today they looked strong in a perfectly paced final that saw them put in a strong middle section.
John Collins said that they knew they would “need to go somewhere they have never been in practice” to come through today’s semi of the men’s double. They stayed pacey and strong despite pressure from multiple crews to come home third in a race won by the World Champions from Croatia.
Walton added: “We have been working so, so hard for this. It is amazing to be in the finals. Finally it’s come together”.
Alan Campbell, four-times an Olympian, is clearly relishing the regatta here. He was not fazed by the prowess of 2015 European Champion and multiple world cup medal winner Damir Martin in the adjacent lane.
“I focussed on my own race and not the Croatian and it worked”, said the Coleraine man who was second by a comfortable margin over the remainder of the field and now moves to a semi on Thursday.
Chris Bartley, Jono Clegg, Mark Aldred and Peter Chambers fought a tightly-bunched lightweight men’s four semi-final but fell the wrong side of the top three dividing line in the final long sprint to the line as the French and New Zealanders came through behind an eye-catching Italian winning quartet.
“I don’t think we could have done anything more. We didn’t leave anything out there today”, said Peter Chambers afterwards. “We were beaten by good crews”.
Bartley added: “I guess we can be proud that no-one held back. We put everything we had out there today”.
Heartbreak also awaited reigning Olympic Champion Kat Copeland and her new lightweight women’s double partner Charlotte Taylor who are out of the regatta. They raced a repechage this morning but came home third – one place short of qualifying for the semis. In Rio this crew has not looked in the form that took them to World Silver last year.
Taylor said: “We didn’t have a great start, I think I caught one of the strokes and we got a bit dumped. We came through 750m and I said we needed to really fight for our lives here but we were never really able to close the gap.
“I don’t think it was our best race. I definitely feel like we’ve raced better in the past.
This year we’ve not properly found our gear in any of the races”.
Tomorrow sees the first GB crew in finals action. The men’s quad race at 10.22 (14.22 Uk time). No British men’s quad has ever won an Olympic medal.
The race programme also includes semi-finals for the women’s pair, lightweight men’s double and men’s four.
For further information about this report please contact the GB Rowing Team press officer, Caroline Searle, via firstname.lastname@example.org OR the phone numbers in the contact box below.
As Alan Campbell pulled the first few strong strokes off the start of his quarter-final today he knew he needed to keep his mind on his own performance and now worry about Damir Martin in the adjacent lane, a European Champion and world cup medal winner.
Somewhat inevitably it was the Croatian who made the early impact with Campbell holding second in the bobbly breeze which was still light at this time of the morning. Indonesia was lying third.
As Campbell and Martin moved past the skyscrapers to their right at 750m gone, they had begun to ease away from the rest of the field with Martin stretching out his lead by over a length on Campbell. Today it was all about qualifying for the next round and not expending too much energy getting there, though.
Campbell achieved that to perfection as he came home in second after a solid performance in a time of 6:49.41.
Campbell said: “I focussed on my own race not on the Croatian and it worked and I’ve qualified in a good place. It was a tough draw but a fair draw”.
Four boats emerged swiftly as the main contenders for the top three spots and the prize of a place in the final. After 500m those four were New Zealand, South Africa, Great Britain and the Czech Republic in that order.
Kiwis Eric Murray and Hamish Bond are unbeaten in eight years and World and Olympic Champions – small wonder that they began to take over, stretching out their lead at the head of the race. The South Africans clung onto second but would have been aware that Sinclair and Innes were closing on them. With 550m to go the GB boat broke through to take second overall in a time of 6:26.36.
Sinclair said: “We think that we made improvements on the heat. The work we were going [today] was more effective but even at that, it wasn’t as cohesive as it could be.
“In the final we want to make sure that we can express ourselves and we don’t need to worry about progression any more”.
Innes said: “It’s going to be a cracking race in the final.
Katherine Grainger’s dream of a fifth Olympic medal in as many Games is alive and kicking after today’s semi-final of the open women’s double scull in which she raced with Vicky Thornley, herself a tough Olympic racer having reached the final of the women’s eight in London.
Today they made the start they would have wanted, leading through 350m before the Poles gradually crept up and overhauled them. With three places on offer for the final, they were holding second and clearly were not going to let that go.
The Australians, with world best time holder Sally Kehoe on board, threatened for a while as did the French but with poise and rhythm the GB duo held off the rest of the field and were in touch with the Poles as they crossed the line in second in 6:52.47 and into Thursday’s finals.
Grainger said: “It is such a competitive event with so many strong crews in that semi. It is an event where we have seen the world best time holder and the World Champions go out of the regatta. The final is going to be very, very tough”.
Not to be outdone the GB men’s double scull of Jonny Walton and John Collins served up a successful dish in the ensuing semi-final, going though in third place to the Olympic final after a tough week which saw them need a repechage to progress to today’s final.
Today they got off to a solid start and were in the leading group with the Croatian world best time holders, Martin and Valent Sinkovic, as well as experienced scullers Olaf Tufte and Kjetil Borch of Norway.
By halfway and lying third, the main threat to GB qualification was in shades of all-black and in the form of Robert Manson and Christopher Harris in the Kiwi boat. Croatia had extended their lead and the Norwegians were holding off the British.
In the final 500m Walton and Collins kept their head drove on their pace and booked that all important place in the final in third place in 6:13.83 – just over three tenths down on the Norwegians.
Collins declared: “To be able to row in the Olympic final, to go for gold in this company is amazing”.
“There we go, we did it!”, exclaimed Walton. “It gives me goosebumps when people say that we are Olympic finalists. But we don’t want to be just finalists, we want to do more than that”.
GB’s lightweight men’s four of Mark Aldred, Jonno Clegg, Chris Bartley and Peter Chambers were well in the mix as their semi-final got underway today. They were tracking the early leaders, Italy, but had the French and New Zealanders hot on their tail.
Bow-ball to bow-ball those three crews battled their way down the course with the Italians always looking secure to win. In the melee of the last 350m, the GB boat agonisingly fell the wrong side of the verdict as the French found another gear to finish 2nd and the Kiwis went on through in third.
Aldred said: “I am absolutely gutted. I wanted to get into the A final and be in the race for medals. To get there we needed to produce the perfect race today. We did what we could. We pushed hard in the middle of the race and it’s so, so disappointing”.
Defending Olympic Champion Kat Copeland and Olympic rookie Charlotte Taylor were not in form in their heat but hoped to put the record straight in their repechage of the lightweight women’s double scull today.
They are known to have a strong second half to their race, so British hearts were not too troubled when they seemed to be off the pace in the opening 500m but as the race progressed it became clear that they would struggle to catch the leading Japanese and American crews with only two places available in the final.
They had narrowed the gap as the crews reached halfway – but not significantly – and in the boat Taylor was telling Copeland that they had to race for their lives. It was not to be as the GB boat came home third in a race won by the USA with Japan second.
(Events featuring Team GB crews only. For full results – www.worldrowing.com)
Double scull (1-3 to final, rest to B Final)
1. Magadelena Fularczyk-Kozlowska/Nataila Madaj (Poland) 6:50.63
3. Helene Lefevre/Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino (France) 6:54.34
4. Sally Kehoe/Genevieve Horton (Australia) 6:55.37
5. Yulia Bichyk/Tatsiana Kukhta (Belarus) 6:57.64
6. Kristina Fleissnerova/Lenkia Antosova (Czech Republic) 7:03.79
1. Eric Murray/Hamish Bond (New Zealand) 6:23.36
3. Lawrence Brittain/Shaun Keeling (South Africa) 6:27.59
4. Adrian Juhasz/Bela Simon (Hungary) 6:29.12
5. Milos Vasci/Nenad Bedik (Serbia) 6:31.00
6. Jakub Podrazil/Lukas Helesic (Czech Republic) 6:32.85
1. Martin & Valent Sinkovic (Croatia) 6:12.27
2. Kjetil Borch/Olaf Tufte (Norway) 6:13.50
4. Robert Manson/Christopher Harris (New Zealand) 6:17.01
5. David Watts/Christopher Morgan (Australia) 6:19.36
6. Georgi Bozhilov/Kristian Vasilev (Bulgaria) 6:47.00
1. Italy 6:06.56
2. France 6:07.32
3. New Zealand 6:08.96
5. Netherlands 6:12.46
6. Germany 6:18.43
Single scull (1-3 to semis, rest to Semi D)
1. Damir Martin (Croatia) 6:44.44
2. Alan Campbell (GREAT BRITAIN) 6:49.41
3. Natan Vegrzycki-Szymczyk (Poland) 6:53.52
4. Dattu Baban Bhokanal (Indonesia) 6:59.89
5. Jhonatan Esquivel (Uruguay) 7:40.27
6. Mohammed Al Khafaji (Iraq) 8:29.76
Double scull (1-2 semis, rest to semi C/D)
1. Devery Karz/Kathleen Bertko (USA) 7:58.90
2. Ayami Oishi/Chiaki Tomita (Japan) 8:00.50
4. Josefa Vila Betancurt/Melita Abraham (Chile) 8:11.97
5. Vanessa Cozzi/Fernanda Ferreira (Brazil) 8:15.53
6. Lee Yuen Yin/Lee Ka Man (Hong Kong) 8:20.96
Team GB crews: 2016 Olympic Regatta
(Crews listed from bow to stroke with cox and with club, hometown and date of birth)
Helen Glover (Minerva Bath RC/Penzance/17.06.86)/
Heather Stanning (Army RC/Lossiemouth/26.01.85)
Coach: Robin Williams
Katie Greves (Leander Club/Oxford/02.09.82)/
Melanie Wilson (Imperial College BC/London/25.06.84)/
Frances Houghton (Univ of London Tyrian Club/Oxford/19.09.80)/
Polly Swann (Leander Club/Edinburgh/05.06.88)/
Jess Eddie (London RC/Durham/07.10.84)/
Olivia Carnegie-Brown (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Henley-on-Thames/28.03.91)/
Karen Bennett (Leander Club/Edinburgh/05.02.89)/
Zoe Lee (Imperial College BC/Richmond/15.12.85)/
Zoe De Toledo (Leander Club/London/17.07.87) (cox)
Coach: James Harris and Paul Thompson
Victoria Thornley (Leander Club/Wrexham/30.11.87)/
Katherine Grainger (St Andrew BC/Glasgow/12.11.75)
Alan Sinclair (Leander Club/Inverness/16.10.85)/
Coach: Rob Dauncey
Alex Gregory (Leander Club/Wormington/11.03.84)/
Mohamed Sbihi (Molesey BC/Surbiton/27.03.88)/
George Nash (Molesey BC/Guildford/02.10.89)/
Constantine Louloudis (Oxford Univ BC/London/15.09.91)
Coach: Jurgen Grobler
Scott Durant (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Lancaster/12.02.88)/
Tom Ransley (Leander Club/Ashford/06.09.85)/
Andrew T Hodge (Molesey BC/Hebden/03.03.79)/
Matt Gotrel (Leander Club/Chipping Campden/01.03.89)/
Pete Reed (Leander Club/Nailsworth/27.07.81)/
Paul Bennett (Univ of London BC/Leeds/16.12.88)/
Matt Langridge (Leander Club/Northwich/20.05.83)/
Will Satch (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/09.06.89)/
Phelan Hill (cox) (Leander Club/Bedford/21.07.79)
Alan Campbell (Tideway Scullers School/Coleraine/09.05.83)
Coach: John West
Jonny Walton (Leander Club/Leicester/06.10.90)/
John Collins (Leander Club/Twickenham/24.01.89)
Coach: Mark Banks
Sam Townsend (Reading Univ BC/Reading/26.11.85)/
Angus Groom (Leander Club/Glasgow/16.06.92)/
Peter Lambert (Leander Club/Maidenhead/03.12.86)/
Charlotte Taylor (Putney Town RC/Bedford/14.08.85)/
Kat Copeland (Tees RC/Ingleby Barwick/01.12.90)
Coach: Paul Reedy
Chris Bartley (Leander Club/Chester/02.02.84)/
Mark Aldred (London RC/Birmingham/18.04.87)/
Jono Clegg (Leander Club/Maidenhead/14.07.89)/
Peter Chambers (Oxford Brookes Univ BC/Coleraine/14.03.90)
Coach: Hamish Burrell
Richard Chambers (Leander Club/Coleraine/10.06.85)
Coach: Darren Whiter
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