Rowing: Eights lose out in final surge

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The Independent Online
The British eights were both eliminated on the second day of repechages in the Olympic regatta on Lake Lanier.

The men's eight was never more than a few feet from second place in this race, and with it a place in the final, but despite a heroic finishing sprint, they went out by two-tenths of a second, although the photo-finish picture made that look generous. The eight will now race in the B final on Sunday alongside Romania, who had looked certain for a medal before this regatta but who went out in the other repechage.

The British women's eight needed to make fourth place in their repechage, and were third after 500m when less than four seconds covered the field. But they could not hold the pace and slipped back as the other five fought it out, with Australia just catching Germany on the line.

The pity of this defeat is that all the best British women had been put in the eight, which had gathered pace and racing maturity over the last two years, culminating in a new record for the Lucerne course in June. In Atlanta, however, they had allowed the distractions of the inefficient bus service to put them on the front pages and take them off the boil for racing. Most of them will retire, leaving the next generation without the medal-winning example that had seemed possible a month ago.

The men's lightweight double scull of Andy Sinton and Nick Strange ensured their place in the semi-finals with a secure race to beat a fast new crew from Cuba. Strange has a rib injury and did not look completely comfortable in the last quarter of the race, but he insists that it is recovering and should be unhindered on Friday.

The British men's lightweight four, including three former world champions, shadowed the Irish over the course, swapping second place with the Austrians until the final surge, when they needed to hold off Spain's late challenge.