Rowing: British pair in power display

STEVEN REDGRAVE and Matthew Pinsent passed the tricky hurdle of the semi-final with an unruffled display of power at the World Championships here yesterday.

The threat for the final is the potential of Thorsten Strepplehoff and Peter Holtzenbein. But Redgrave feels that the Germans were surprised by their inablilty to press harder in the the first round and may find the need to peak three times this season too much.

Pinsent and Redgrave have acquired almost mythical status in the rowing community and no one expects them to lose here. Their defeat anywhere is, for the moment, hard to envisage.

The men's coxless four has two other stars, the Searle brothers, who have the opposite tactic to Pinsent and Redgrave. They lose throughout the season and create despair all around and then, magically, they produce a race which amazes all around them for its ferocity.

The four has raced only a couple of times in the summer, and always foundered against the French 1993 champion four. On results here, the French will win again, but the British four is yet to produce a complete race.

The lightweight double scull of Andy Sinton and Stuart Whitelaw have had a difficult season, and a place on the edge of the final seemed the best they could achieve. But in the semi-final here they were in fourth place in the middle of the race and, without any great flourish, crept up on the leaders to slip quietly into second place, behind the Swiss. They may still slip into the bronze medal position they aspire to.

Guin Batten has a knack of knowing when it is pointless to race too hard. Her semi-final was a lost cause, so she cruised it, but she showed enough speed to finish in the top half of the small final.

Peter Haining, the reigning champion in the single sculls made sure of his place in the final with a powerful performance in very harsh conditions with a strong wind. In the other-semi final, Niall O'Toole, of Ireland, the only man to have beaten Haining this year, came second to the young Dane, Karsten Nielsen.

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