Rowing: Campbell fires after illness

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The Independent Online

Alan Campbell and Tom James rose from their sickbeds and got back into the World Championships yesterday. "Today is the opening of my regatta," Campbell said after he won his repêchage of the single sculls.

This puts the Briton who lit up the sculling world at the beginning of the season in a semi-final tomorrow which includes Olaf Tufte, the Olympic champion, and Ondrej Synek, the 2005 bronze medallist. The semis are well-balanced, with last year's champion, Mahe Drysdale, and the world record holder, Marcel Hacker, in the other race.

The cold that forced Campbell to be isolated from his team is becoming an afterthought and his coach, Bill Barry, said: "His mind's in the right place. We just hope his body follows."

James, a Cambridge student, and his Oxford partner Colin Smith also took their race from the front. James, who had respiratory problems last week, felt fine after the race in which the pair were fastest over the first half of the course and led all the way.

Smith and James have a semi-final which includes three pairs who qualified directly from the heats - the Australians, Italians and Canadians. The Australians Drew Ginn and Duncan Free are a formidable new combination but James's response to meeting the golden oldies is typical of the British attitude. "They're good, but like us they're new in a pair," he said. "We have a few cards up our sleeves."

Antonia van Deventer won her repêchage in the lightweight single sculls.