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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam