Rowing: Cracknell and Pinsent favoured by kind draw

There are 13 British crews involved in semi-finals at the World Championships here today, all but the lightweight sculler Tom Kay in Olympic events. Most of them should end the week having secured the qualification of their boats for next year's Olympics, with a few medals thrown in for good measure.

The luck of the draw is certainly with the world pairs champions, James Cracknell and Matthew Pinsent, and the 2001 world silver medallists in the coxless fours, Steve Williams, Josh West, Toby Garbett and Rick Dunn.

Cracknell and Pinsent's toughest opponents today are the Canadians Wayne Pommen and Scott Frandsen, the only other crew to qualify for the semi-final directly from the first round. Slovenia qualified by winning a repêchage, while Germany, Argentina and Brazil also arrived from success in the second round. Only two of the six boats will go through to Saturday's final.

The British coxless four, whose bid for a medal in the World Cup in Lucerne was halted by gastroenteritis, will be looking to make amends, but may face tough competition from the Italians.

The men's eight's performances indicate that they will also reach the final, but they have to beat Poland, Croatia and Italy if they are unable to master heat winners Germany and the United States against whom they are also drawn.

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