OLYMPICS / Barcelona 1992: British pair dominate: Rowing: Hugh Matheson reports from Banyoles

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The Independent Online
THE first day of rowing heats were puzzling, the tactics and shadow boxing giving false impressions of form in almost every event. However, few British crews were flattered by the outcome, although in too many cases it was the first full-blown race they had undertaken.

Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent were absolutely dominant in their heat of the coxless pairs. They were a little slow off the start and were led to 500 metres by the Slovenian pair of Iztok Cop and Denis Zvegelj, but were in charge shortly after. Pinsent said: 'The race felt better than I thought it would. We were as emphatic as we've ever rowed.' After 1500m the Slovenes gave up the chase and the British pair dropped to a cruise rate and still came home in the fastest time of the day.

The women's double scull, who had been picked in several forecasts to win a bronze medal, dropped back steadily throughout their heat to finish fourth and last and will now have to race the United States, Mexico, and Hungary in the repechage to gain a place in the semi-finals for the top 12. Ali Gill complained of an upset stomach and was treated by the team doctor.

The new coxless pair of Miriam Batten, third in the world last year, and Jo Turvey had a good first race: second to the US. Batten said: 'We were happy with the result, because we had a dreadful start and immediately lost almost a length to the US. We also never really found the rhythm, so we were encouraged to think it can go faster.'

The men's coxed four finished third behind the German boat and two seconds behind the former Soviet Union crew, now racing as the Unified Team. The coxed four are capable of finishing in the top three but will have a very tough route to the final six.

The women's coxless four were never on terms in their race and slipped back to lose by 20 seconds to Canada.