Stroke of fortune for Pinsent and his crew

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Rowing resumed at Schinias yesterday when the wind abated, and three British crews qualified for the semi-finals through repêchages.

Rowing resumed at Schinias yesterday when the wind abated, and three British crews qualified for the semi-finals through repêchages.

The single sculler Ian Lawson and the quadruple scullers both had to get themselves out of trouble, while Helen Casey and Tracy Langlands in the lightweight double sculls qualified comfortably. Only the men's lightweight four missed out by finishing fourth in a race for three qualifying places.

Lawson was dropped off the start by the Egyptian Ali Ibrahim and Vladimir Tchernenko of Uzbekistan. But while the Yorkshireman kept his cool, Tchernenko burned out and Lawson moved past him, eventually overhauling Ibrahim who had no need to fight for first place because two qualified for today's semi-final.

"It was not good enough," Lawson said, "but quick enough on the day to get through that race. There can be no excuses tomorrow. If I come off the water and haven't performed, then that's my fault. If you don't do it in the Olympics, then when are you going to do it?"

Pete Wells has been moved into the stroke seat of the quad since the first round, and he lifted the crew to a fighting finish yesterday. Wells, Simon Cottle, Alan Campbell and Pete Gardner narrowly snatched the third qualifying place from France.

Seven British crews are in action today, including the coxless four stroked by Matthew Pinsent. His crew has a charmed semi-final draw. The other heat winners from Saturday, Canada and Australia, are in the other semi, and the British have either beaten or returned a much faster time than all those at the start - Russia (winners of yesterday's repêchage), Poland, New Zealand, Slovenia and Croatia. This should be a breeze for Pinsent and Steve Williams, James Cracknell and Ed Coode.

Toby Garbett and Rick Dunn have a tough draw in the pairs, including James Tomkins and Drew Ginn of Australia, winners at last year's world championships.

Matt Wells and Matt Langridge also have a semi-final in the double sculls, sharing it with the Slovenians Luka Spik and Iztok Cop, the Olympic champions in Sydney.

Katherine Grainger and Cath Bishop have drawn Bulgaria, France and New Zealand, with two to go through in their repêchage of the women's pairs.

The women's double scullers Sarah Winckless and Elise Laverick also face a repêchage, and the men's eight is in a frankly no-win situation against world champions Canada, a hungry German crew and Poland for two qualifying places.

Comments