British coxless four take gold

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The Independent Online

Great Britain's Tom James, Steve Williams, Pete Reed and Andy Triggs Hodge have won a gold medal in a thrilling men's coxless four race.

Britain's coxless four rowers emulated Olympic greats Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent when they struck gold in the coxless four.

The crew, led by Steve Williams and including Tom James, Peter Reed and Andy Triggs-Hodge, put in a dramatic surge to haul back Australia and make it three golds in a row at the Olympics for Britain's flagship boat.

The Australians were beaten into second place with France third.

The result means Williams is now a double Olympic champion after also winning gold in Athens.

And he told BBC One: "That was very, very tough. It's very difficult to put any words together. But we're obviously delighted. It's been a very, very tough four or five months. Every day Jurgen (Grobler, coach) kept saying 'there is no-one who can beat you' and some days that was really hard to believe, but we just kept on believing.

"Whatever it was the last 10 or 15 strokes, it was absolutely phenomenal."

The rest of the men's four crew were also ecstatic at winning gold.

Reed added: "[That's] the hardest thing I've ever got up to do. After the semi-final we thought it was going to be so, so difficult.

"We were really on the ropes. that is the best finish we have ever put together - in tough conditions - I am so pleased. Magic."

James felt it was the belief in the crew which took Britain to a third consecutive gold in the event.

"We kept thinking we want to dominate and then suddenly get to halfway," he said. "But we had so much belief. I knew we could still claw it back."

And Triggs Hodge admitted he was stunned by the late push which wrestled victory away from the Australian crew.

"I don't know where that last 250m came from. I always knew we had another gear but I never believed we could that," he said. "I have never been in that pain before. I gave absolutely everything there. That last 250m was just out of the bag."

The victory sealed a triumphant haul of medals for Britain which saw Elise Laverick and Anna Bebington conjure up a storming surge to take the bronze in a dramatic finish to the women's doubles sculls.

Matt Wells and Stephen Rowbotham added to the celebrations when they too came third in the men's double sculls.