Olympic duo lead Britain's assault on medals

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The Independent Online

Four gold medals, two silvers and a bronze in Vienna yesterday put Britain at the top of the Rowing World Cup standings, after three regattas out of four.

The men's coxless pair of James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent lead the way, taking on a difficult headwind and leading from the front, to win by three lengths from Yugoslavia. Before the race began, however, Pinsent was forced to take drastic action, bailing water out of the boat with a drinks bottle.

In the women's coxless pairs, Katharine Grainger and Cath Bishop had to move past the early leaders Belarus, but then dominated from half-way.

The men's eight, with two substitutes, let Poland lead early on, then chewed away at the gap until 500 metres to go. A final push demolished Polish resistance, giving Britain gold by more than a length.

Of the sculling squad, only Guin Batten and Tim Foster missed out, the crew boats winning four medals. Double scullers Frances Houghton and Debbie Flood took top billing, sculling strongly to take gold.

The women's quadruple scull and men's lightweight double scull snatched silver in tight races.

Lightweights Tim Male and Tom Middleton raced to a blanket finish for second against Denmark and the Czech Republic, taking silver by 0.01sec.

Meanwhile the women's quartet of Elise Laverick, Lisa Eyre, Rebecca Romero and Alison Mowbray were narrowly edged out of gold in the final sprint by the Ukraine.

The latest medal tally puts Britain on the top of the overall standings with 123 points after three events in the best-of-four series. Germany are second on 103 points, the United States third on 73.