Rowing: Campbell weathers choppy water to join strong contingent in finals

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The Independent Online

A strong tail wind kept the flags fluttering and the crews flustering at the world championships here yesterday. Six British boats, including the scullers Alan Campbell and Zac Purchase, qualified for tomorrow's finals, bringing the host nation's total to 10.

The men's coxless four chalked up their 23rd consecutive win in a race in which they built a lead of a length before the Germans mounted a determined sprint and closed to within a second. "We knew that, with 500 metres to go, they could not do enough to beat us, but we were at 98 per cent of capacity," said Steve Williams, the bow man.

Colin Smith and Tom James produced a brilliant performance in the pairs, jumping off the block alongside the Australians Drew Ginn and Duncan Free and the Italians Giuseppe De Vita and Lorenzo Porzio. After halfway the Canadians Kevin Light and Malcolm Howard challenged, and the British pulled out all the stops to move from fourth to second among white-horse waves, finishing one second down on the Australians. The other semi-final was won by the current champions, Nathan Twaddle and George Bridewater of New Zealand.

Alan Campbell led his opponents off the start in the single sculls, but the Norwegian Olaf Tufte and the Czech Ondrej Synek soon went ahead and left Campbell, who was troubled by a cold last week, as the back marker for the third qualifying place. The Cuban Yoennis Hernandez Arruez came at him, so that Campbell had no choice but to produce a sprint to reach the final.

Zac Purchase won his semi-final of the lightweight single sculls, while the men's and women's double scullers both came third with solid performances.