British pair Helen Glover and Heather Stanning storm into women's pair final

 

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning confirmed their status as gold medal
favourites as they stormed into the final of the women's rowing pair in a
new Olympic record time.

Roared on by a packed crowd at Eton Dorney, Glover and Stanning won the opening heat of the Olympic regatta in a time of six minutes and 57.29 seconds, beating the previous best by over four seconds.

Glover and Stanning controlled the race from the outset, leading the field by a half a length at the 500 metre time-check before pulling smoothly clear to beat the United States crew by a length.

The defending Olympic champions Romania came a surprise third and will have to negotiate the repechages to reach Wednesday's final.

Glover and Stanning reacted to being pipped into silver place at the 2011 World Championships by dominating the women's pair this year, winning gold at all three of this summer's World Cup regattas.

If they can continue that run of success into Wednesday's final they will become Britain's first ever female Olympic rowing champions.

Today's performance sent out a powerful message of intent to the rest of the field, with heat two winners Australia coming home in a time four seconds slower than the British crew.

New Zealand, who beat Glover and Stanning by eight hundredths of a second to win the World Championships last year, trailed home unconvincingly behind the Australians.

Great Britain's men's eight finished second in their heat behind three-time world champions Germany and will have to go through a repechage on Monday to reach Wednesday's final.

But racing for the first time with their current crew - with 20-year-old Constantine Louloudis at stroke after returning from injury - Britain produced a confidence-boosting performance.

Germany seemed in control at the halfway mark but Louloudis, the Old Etonian rowing on his school lake, inspired a powerful second 1,000 metres as Britain closed the gap to half a length.

The repechage will give Britain an extra race together. They should enter Wednesday's final with podium potential and, following today's performance, gold medal aspirations.

The race was five seconds faster than the first heat which was won by a resurgent United States crew, who had finished eighth at the World Championships and only qualified for the Olympics at the last opportunity.

Earlier, the British women's quad of Melanie Wilson, Debbie Flood, Frances Houghton and Beth Rodford finished a disappointing fourth in their heat and must now negotiate a repechage to reach the final.

PA

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
News
Bill O'Reilly attends The Hollywood Reporter 35 Most Powerful People In Media Celebration at The Four Seasons Restaurant on April 16, 2014 in New York City
media It is the second time he and the channel have clarified statements
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola, writes Ian Herbert
News
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn