British women to contest three finals

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The Independent Online

The flagship four of Matthew Pinsent, Ed Coode, James Cracknell and Steve Williams berthed safely in Saturday's final for a head-to-head with the Canadians yesterday, but the other four men's crews on parade were dumped into B finals for rankings of seven to 12 by fractions of seconds.

The flagship four of Matthew Pinsent, Ed Coode, James Cracknell and Steve Williams berthed safely in Saturday's final for a head-to-head with the Canadians yesterday, but the other four men's crews on parade were dumped into B finals for rankings of seven to 12 by fractions of seconds.

However, the British women's team now have three finalists with good medal chances, thanks to brilliant repêchages by Sarah Winckless and Elise Laverick in the double sculls and Katherine Grainger and Cath Bishop in the pairs. The quadruple scullers are already set for Sunday's final.

Grainger and Bishop rowed a confident race by taking the lead straightaway and finishing two seconds faster than the second repêchage. They are looking more like the world champions they became in Milan last year than they were three days ago.

Winckless and Laverick were a couple of seconds behind the Romanians Camelia Mihalcea and Simona Strimbeschi with three-quarters of the way gone, and then swung into a stroke that took them to victory by three seconds.

All the men's crews gave it their best shot. Toby Garbett and Rick Dunn, in the pairs, failed to qualify for the final by a whisker. Garbett and Dunn were dropped from the coxless four to make room for Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell, who had been Britain's coxless pair until February this year.

Matt Wells and Matt Langridge, in the double sculls, missed a final place by six hundredths of a second.

The eight came in third, half a second behind the Germans, which sent them to the B final.

Ian Lawson was up against the Estonian Jueri Jaanson, the 1991 world champion, and the fast Belgian Tim Maeyens, among others, for two qualifying places in the final. Lawson progressed staunchly through the field from fifth to third, but could not catch the leaders.

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