Hunter and Purchase get a grip on day of tough rowing conditions

Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter continued their unbeaten year in their first Olympic race yesterday, taking them to the semi-final of the lightweight double sculls on Thursday.

Their time was the fastest of the three heats on a day when the wind on the Shunyi Lake was uncharacteristically behind the crews. It eventually brought with it torrential rain, thunder and lightning which binned the final two events, the men’s and women’s eights, for the day.

Purchase and Hunter remain un-phased by being favourites for the gold medal, whether they like it or not. “We’ve come here to race everyone and beat everyone,” Hunter said. “We’re keeping our feet on the ground and aim to do what we set out to do 18 months ago, and that’s all we think about.”

An Amazonian clash is set up for Sunday’s final of the women’s quadruple sculls after the Chinese won the first heat and the British the second. China shot ahead and dominated their race, stroke Yangyang Zhang sporting a big smile all the way along the course. The British performance was also impressive, stroke Katherine Grainger setting a cracking pace and the crew producing even splits for the second, third and fourth quarters of the race. The

German crew gave chase but could not make an impression, and an impression is what they need if they are to preserve their country’s hundred per cent record of Olympic gold medals in this event, and give Kathrin Boron in the No 3 seat her fifth consecutive gold.

“The Germans were with us all the way, but we never felt that they were going to come through.” Annie Vernon said.

“It was a tough race. A heat of the Olympics is a step above a world championship final,” Debbie Flood sustained a tiny wrist injury during the race which caused a lot of blood but no feeling of when or how it occurred. Katherine

Grainger, the stroke, who already has two silver Olympic medals, said that they were a different crew since their disastrous result at Lucerne in June. “This is a very different crew, and I’d expect that,” she said. “But we’re certainly better for it. We’re more experienced and can go into more detail analysis about what we’re doing.”

Grainger, who has silver medals from Sydney and Athens and is a member of a quad which could deliver Britain’s first women’s Olympic gold, wears the suggestion of history in the making lightly. “We won a medal in Sydney and it was a break-through, a historic event. We’ll take care of the result first and then let the records take care of themselves.”

Yesterday the lightweight men’s four were on track after the lack-lustre world cup season that followed their world title of a year ago. They were drawn in the same heat as the Chinese crew who won the world title in 2007, and the Brits held off challenges from the Australian crew at the same time as shadowing the Chinese.

In terms of time, very little separates the nine crews that qualified for semi-finals, so just as in the open fours which began on Saturday, there are plenty of contenders for medals, let alone the six places in the final. Paul Mattick, the No 3 in the British crew, said: “We had a nice cruise pace in second 500 metres. That’s what we like, a good rhythm, and to lead on from that rather than be forced to spin over at high rates.”

The double scullers Hester Goodsell and Helen Casey finished third and go to repéchâge tomorrow [TUE]. The men’s and women’s eights are rescheduled for today [MON], along with ac crucial quarterfinal for the sculler Alan Campbell and repéchâges for the women’s double scullers and the men’s and women’s pairs.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Extras
indybest
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
News
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape