Smooth path to semi-final for Hall

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The Independent Online
All but one of the five British crews racing at the World Championships here in Eastern France yesterday took advantage of the repechage races to make amends and move forward to the semi-finals or final.

Jane Hall made sure of her position in the semi-finals of the lightweight singles sculls at her first attempt with a safe race to finish second behind Kristina Knejp of Sweden. The 23-year-old has won medals in each of her four years at World Championships, rowing in the four and pair, but she switched to the single to prepare for an Olympic place in Sydney.

Matt McQuillan and Rory Morrisson looked to have secured a place in the final of the coxed pairs after pulling back into the second qualifying position in front of the Ukrainian pair in the second 500 metres but they slowed over the second half and although they were closing on the Romanians at the end, it proved too late.

The men's lightweight eight put together a beautifully judged race, depending on the experience of the 32-year-old cox, John Deakin. They led after 500m but Australia and Italy soon passed them. The British eight maintained their cruising rhythm and made no special moves until the last quarter when a burst closed half a second on the leaders, and placed the crew so that the final sprint to the line brought them home a canvas ahead of Australia with Italy a further half-second back. "The race is won at 36 strokes to the minute. Above that you have to be moving, or you are losing," their coach, Len Robertson, said. "They used the rhythm to win the race."

Ben Hunt Davis and Bobby Thatcher found themselves lying third in a tight clutch at half-way in their repechage with two to go forward to the semi- final. But a hard push into the third 500m took them to the front and well clear of Poland. In the last quarter the pair held on to win comfortably.

Results, Digest, page 25