Rowing: Lange's Diamond sparkle

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The Independent Online
THOMAS LANGE won the Diamond Sculls by one foot after a thrilling closing sprint from the 1989 winner, Vaclav Chalupa, of the Czech Republic.

Lange has been world and Olympic champion since 1987 and the result reinforced his claim to be one of the greatest scullers ever. He controlled the race by taking an early lead and held off each challenge until the last 100 metres when he hit a wave as Chalupa closed on him. In the Olympic final the margin was three-quarters of a length and this time neither would guess the result until the photo finish was printed.

Lange, the last of the East German rowing wunderkinder, has managed the transition to life in the new Germany better than any of his contemporaries. He spent the winter as a trainee doctor in Melbourne and only returned to full-time training four months ago.

In the women's sculls, Maria Brandin, of Sweden, put her three-stone advantage over Annelies Bredael, of Belgium, to good use in the head wind and gradually pulled away to win by two lengths.

The Grand Challenge Cup for eights was taken with predictable efficiency by the German national crew rowing as Hansa Dortmund. They have dominated the sport since 1988 with the exception of the Barcelona Olympics when they were overtrained and slipped to a bronze medal. The British Student Games eight, stuffed with junior world champions close to breaking into the elite, was not disgraced to finish two lengths behind.

The Princess Elizabeth Cup, for school eights, also went abroad when the young, but canny, Brisbane Boys College crew changed their race tactics to reveal a fast start against Eton. The crews were level for about three minutes until Brisbane gained a few feet in the approach to Fawley, when Eton seemed to miss the sharp stride they had achieved the day before. Eton replied with a tremendous push from the bottom of the enclosures but Brisbane countered and won a superb race by two-thirds of a length.

Steven Redgrave has won most of the important events at Henley in the past decade as well as three Olympic gold medals. Yesterday he took the Stewards' Cup for coxless fours rowing as a substitute. The British squad four has lost several times this season to Hansa Dortmund and a gamble paid off yesterday for the men's chief coach, Jurgen Grobler, when he put Redgrave in for the injured Tim Foster, hoping a victory would allow the crew to raise their sights in the run up to the world championships in Prague at the end of August. In the morning Redgrave and his normal partner, Matthew Pinsent, made steady progress against a New Zealand pair to win the Silver Goblets event for coxless pairs.

In the Prince Philip Cup, the premier event for coxed fours, the chosen national squad four beat the four men who have been exiled from the eight while it is preparing for the World Student Games, but in a time five seconds slower than the junior event, the Britannia Cup, won by Harvard.

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