World best time for double and three through to finals
Three GB crews won their heats to move into Sunday’s finals with the double generating a blazing world best time.
Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley provided the highlight of the opening morning’s racing at the 2016 Paralympic Games regatta when they set a sizzling World Best Time in the mixed double scull and became one of three GB crews to reach Sunday’s finals.
Rowles and Whiteley lit up the grey Brazilian skies and fired up the vocal GB support when they knocked more than two seconds off the World Best Time to win their heat in 3:54.70.
Debutants at this level, the trunk-arms mixed double scullers (TAMix2x) clearly converted their speed in training to an eye-catching race-day performance.
“We know we have been quick in training and we are always quick in the rain, we’re used to it”, said a clearly delighted Rowles after their win.
“It was good to get out there and test ourselves against some of the best crews in the world and see where we stood and we are now contenders”, said Whiteley, “but we are taking it one day at a time and doing what’s required”.
Rachel Morris had earlier started the surge by winning her arms-shoulders single scull (ASW1x) heat from local heroine and former World Champion Claudia Santos of Brazil.
Morris said: “There was a bit of a cross-wind out there but it was good to get the job done and to get out there and race”.
“The real challenge will come on Sunday”, cautioned cox James, “but it was good to put in a strong performance today”.
Defending Paralympic Champion Relph said: “I think that was probably one of the most calm and collected races we have ever done. There was a lot going on around us and we didn’t even notice it we just had the blinkers on”.
Tom Aggar challenged the reigning and three-times World Champion, Erik Horrie, in his heat of the open men’s single scull before taking second place. He will race a repechage tomorrow (13.30 BST) to make Sunday’s final.
“I will be back tomorrow for the rep and looking to get into that final come Sunday”, said Aggar afterwards.
Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing Team Performance Director said: “We have made a good start to our Paralympic campaign with three boats already qualified for the A finals and Tom Aggar having every chance to to the same tomorrow.
“We can look forward to some challenging A finals on Sunday with some serious medal chances. What ia very clear from today is how the standard of Paralympic rowing internationally has moved on significantly since London and that’s great to see”.
Highlights of today’s racing will be shown on Channel 4 at 18.00 BST.
For further information about this report please contact the GB Rowing Team press officer, Caroline Searle, via [email protected] OR the phone numbers in the contact box below.
Rachel Morris took a strong early lead over Brazil’s Claudia Santos, a 2015 World finalist and former World Champion in the second heat of the arms-shoulders single scull for women (ASW1x). The Guildford World silver medallist was over a length ahead by 350m gone with Belarus in in third.
A the halfway mark, Morris held her lead out in lane one in relatively flat and overcast conditions. In the in the final 250m Morris kept it all long and strong and looked like she was keeping her top-line finish under wraps as she came home in 5:32.15. Brazil were second and Belarus third.
Morris later described the race as a “settling one”. She said: “It was good to get that first race out of the way and now tomorrow can be about preparing for the final rather than racing a repechage.
Wang Lili of China won the opposing heat in 5:21.04 despite a strong final sprint from the reigning World Champion, Moran Samuel of Israel.
It was Horrie who made the best start. With 250m gone Aggar was in second and trailing the Australian but only by half a length. Sensing the threat from Aggar, Horrie picked up the pace again. The remainder of the field were more than ten seconds behind, making this heat a two-boat battle in the final phases.
Aggar continued to press but Horrie had enough to hold off his rival to take the win. Aggar’s time in second was 4:50.99.
Roman Polanski of the Ukraine won the earlier heat in 4:44.70 from Cheng Huang of China with the USA in third.
As the rain began to fall more persistently GB’s Paralympic debutants Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley took to the start line in an eagerly anticipated heat in which the British World silver medallists and the reigning World Champions, Australia, were drawn together.
Rowles and Whiteley went off hard from the start and had a clearwater lead over the Chinese at halfway with Australia in third. It looked as if the GB duo were on song and converting their pace in training to a top performance in competition.
At the finish they had more than two seconds over the fast-finishing Chinese to win in 3:52.16 – a World and Paralympic Best Time – with the Ukraine coming through to take third but were later demoted to last place as their boat was underweight, leaving Australia in third. France won the first of the two heats in this boat category in 3:59.32.
GB got off to a superb start in the last heat of the morning taking a length lead in the mixed coxed four by halfway and then powering on to win in 3:25.08. Behind the GB boat the Chinese consistently held second, holding off the South Africans by a narrow margin at the line.
Louise Kingsley, ParalympicsGB team leader for rowing said: “That was a really solid start and a good opening morning of racing. As expected there are some fast crews in the field and no-one should be underestimated. Now, we’ll focus on preparing our crews for their next races”.
(Events featuring ParaylmpicsGB crews only. For full results – www.worldrowing.com)
ASW1x – women’s arms-shoulders single scull – heat 2
1. Rachel Morris (GREAT BRITAIN) 5:32.15
2. Claudia Santos (Brazil) 5:38.62
3. Lyudmila Vauchok (Belarus) 5:44.98
4. Kim Se Jeong (Republic of Korea) 5:47.85
5. Eleonora De Paolis (Italy) 5:50.99
6. Mariana Gallo (Argentina) 7:31.44
ASM1x – men’s arms-shoulders single scull – heat 2
1. Erik Horrie (Australia) 4:45.87
3. Fabrizio Caselli (Italy) 5:10.02
4. Augustus Navickas (Lithuania) 5:10.24
5. Park Jun Ha (Republic of Korea) 5:10.75
6. Johannes Schmidt (Germany) 5:27.77
TAMix2x – mixed trunk-arms double scull – heat 2
2. Liu Shuang/Fei Tianming (China) 3:54.70
3. Gavin Bellis/Kathryn Ross (Australia) 4:03.25
4. Yuliya Chernoy/Reuven Magnagey (Israel) 4:20.62
5. Zanna Cveckovska/Eduards Pupels (Latvia) 4:36.95
6. Jaroslav Kouida/Iryna Kyrychenko (Ukraine) BUW
LTAMix4+ – mixed legs-trunk arms coxed four – heat 1
2. Qian Wang/Zhao Hui/Chen Xinxin/Wu Yunlong/Yu Li (China) 3:29.66
3. Shannon Murray/Lucy Perold/Dylan Trollope/Dieter Rosslee/Willie Morgan (South Africa) 3:30.04
4. Kathleen Murdoch/Brock Ingram/Jeremy McGrath/Davinia Lefroy/Josephine Burnand (Australia) 3:32.88
5. Valentina Grassi/Tommaso Schettino/Luca Lunghi/Florinda Trombetta/Guiseppe di Capua (Italy) 3:37.37
6. Market Bangajena/Michelle Garnett/Takudzwa Gwariro/Previous Wiri/Jessica Davis (Zimbabwe) 4:08.63
(Crews listed from bow to stroke with cox and with club, hometown and date of birth)
Coxed four (LTA 4+)
Grace Clough (Nottingham RC/Sheffield/21.06.91)
Daniel Brown (Upper Thames BC/Reading/29.11.82)
Pamela Relph (Leander Club/Aylesbury/14.11.89)
James Fox (Univ of London/Peterborough/02.05.92)
Oliver James (cox) (Leander Club/Henley-on-Thames/05.01.90)
Laurence Whiteley (Tees RC/Northallerton/29.08.91)
Coach: Nick Baker
Arms/-shoulders single scull (ASM 1x)
Tom Aggar (Marlow RC/Maidenhead/24.05.84)
Coach: Nick Baker
Arms/-shoulders single scull (ASW 1x)
Rachel Morris (Guildford RC/Farnham/25.04.79)
Coach: Tom Dyson
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