Rowing: One more chance for rowers

The lightweight men's four. Photo / Rowing New Zealand
The lightweight men's four. Photo / Rowing New Zealand

New Zealand's two last-gasp rowing crews had only mixed fortunes in their first foray in their World Cup regatta in Belgrade - but they are not done yet.

Both the lightweight men's four and the senior men's eight have clearly defined goals if they are to make the final qualifying spot for the London Olympics - and were due to race again overnight.

At first glance, their appearance in the repechages of their respective events looks unhelpful, as the four must come at least second and the eight must win to book a passage to London.

But the four were affected by motorboat wash and the eight got close to one of the Olympic gold medal favourites, Germany - and both crews may yet have more to give.

The lightweight four - James Lassche, Graham Oberlin-Brown, Curtis Rapley and Duncan Grant - made a strong start in their first international race together before fading to finish fourth.

They held on to second place early on in a competitive field containing former world champions Great Britain.

But they were slowed dramatically during the latter stages of the race by wash from a following launch, and settled for fourth place and a spot in the repechage.

"We had a good first 1000m and were right up with qualified crews from Great Britain and China," Grant, a three-time world champion in the single scull, said. "[But] we were hit by considerable motorboat wash between the 750m-250m to go, and we know we still have some more to give."

The fourth place and trip to the repechages did not perturb Grant, however, especially considering the strength of competition and the fact it was their first international race in the lightweight fours. The heavyweight men's four of Sean O'Neill, Chris Harris, Jade Uru and Tyson Williams - already qualified for the Olympics - finished fourth in their heat after a troubled build-up with injury worries. They, too, head to the repechage where third place guarantees them a semifinal row.

The men's eight, making a late run at Olympic qualification, were third in a heat of three that included Germany, and the Netherlands.

Despite the result, which puts them into the repechage where one boat from five will be eliminated, the crew's time of 5 minutes and 35 seconds was closer to the overall pace than they have been in recent races. The Germans were just a length or so ahead, with the Netherlands just over a second up.

- APNZ

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