Rowing: British eight recall Sydney success with surge to final

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The Independent Online

The British eight excelled to qualify for Sunday's final at the World Championships here yesterday when they ran in behind the Italians, who dominated the repêchage from start to finish. Five other British crews progressed to the next round through "second-chance" repêchages.

The British eight excelled to qualify for Sunday's final at the World Championships here yesterday when they ran in behind the Italians, who dominated the repêchage from start to finish. Five other British crews progressed to the next round through "second-chance" repêchages.

The eight's strong finish was a welcome sight, for we had almost forgotten what a good eight looked like since the Olympics in Sydney. The Italians streaked off the start and were never threatened, but the British crew had to fight off the Romanians, Poles and Russians for the second qualifying place.

They passed the Russians into second place after 500 metres and held firm against the charging Poles at the end. The other repêchage was faster, with Germany and Croatia qualifying. The struggle for the gold medal on Sunday will be between the US and Canada.

The women's quad had a fright when Alison Mowbray in the bow seat caught a wave before the line when they were bowball-to-bowball with the Australians. Mowbray stopped rowing, but the crew had sufficient distance between them and the Russians to clinch the qualifying place for the final.

The lightweight women's and men's quads qualified for finals, both coached by Paul Reedy of London RC. The men's achievement of the fastest time in the repêchages leaves his aspiration to win Britain's first-ever medal in a men's quad on target.

The lightweight double scullers Tim Male and Tom Kay led their repêchage to win a qualifying place in tomorrow's semi-final, as did the men's lightweight four.

Today's semi-finals include the coxless pairs, with James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent drawn in a different race from the only crew to have beaten them in a pair, Drew Ginn and James Tomkins of Australia.

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