Rowing: Redgrave four threatened by Australians

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The Independent Online
THE BRITISH men's team left it to the last gasp to regain the stage from the women in the Krombacher Rowing World Cup here yesterday. The women's crews took four medals from five finals, with a lone silver medal going to the men's eight in the last race of the cup.

The men's eight led the field to 750 metres, when Romania nosed in front. The young, and relatively inexperienced, crew with the coxed four bronze medallists Steven Trapmore and Ed Coode in the stern, held together well and pushed ahead to take silver.

However, the greatest threat to British rowing emerged from a new Australian foursome, winning stylishly in the absence of the reigning world champions, the Leander Club coxless four. They are training at home while they overcome the injury to Tim Foster's hand.

The Romanians, described by Matthew Pinsent as "significantly faster than anyone we raced in 1997" were knocked back into third place by Australia and France.

That makes the task of Redgrave, Pinsent, Cracknell and Foster at Henley in a fortnight that much harder.

The women's pair of Dot Blackie and Cath Bishop rowed a canny coxless final, lying second to the Australians to half-way before pushing to the front in the third 500 metres. They came out again in the women's eight, but, in the second half of the race, slipped against the Australians, who were also doubling up, yet held on well for a bronze medal. The Romanians were again dominant.

Most encouraging was the performance of the two women's double sculls. Miriam Batten and Gillian Lindsay made their debut this year with silver matching their World Championship medal of 1997. Jane Hall and Tracy Langlands reinforced their Munich performance with a bronze in the lightweight division.

Sue Appelboom made history with her ninth successive lightweight sculls title at the women's Henley Regatta yesterday.

The day also belonged to 18-year-old Debbie Flood, whose switch from top judo circles saw her winning the open single sculls.