Rowing: Olympic dreams over for rowing four and eight

Duncan Grant, Graham Oberlin-Brown, James Lassche and Curtis Rapley. Photo / File.
Duncan Grant, Graham Oberlin-Brown, James Lassche and Curtis Rapley. Photo / File.

New Zealand's lightweight four and men's eight have both missed out on the Olympics after failing to qualify at the last chance regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland this morning.

The lightweight four finished third behind the US and the Netherlands, missing out on one of the two qualifying places by 1.5 seconds.

Duncan Grant, a member of the four along with Graham Oberlin Brown, James Lassche and Curtis Rapley, spoke of his disappointment afterwards.

"We feel we had our best race and were beaten by two better crews, but we're hugely disappointed that we don't get to go to London," he said.

"I'm seeing my third Olympics now pass me by, and I dearly would have loved to have been in London."

The men's eight were also knocked out by the US, finishing four seconds behind in second - only the winners qualified for London. It continues a long run of Olympic appearances for the American eight, who have never missed out on racing at the Games, but meant heartbreak for the young Kiwi crew.

It also means the New Zealand public's 26-year wait for another Olympic medal in the men's eight will continue.

The Kiwis finished in a time of 5:40.02, six and a half seconds ahead of France.

Both the four and the eight started well, but could not make an impression on the crews filling the vital qualifying spots.

The four came closest, fighting back from fourth at the start to be level with the Netherlands and Serbia with 500m to go.

But their sprint, which had been beaten on both occasions they have needed to use it in races, let them down again and the Netherlands were able to carve out the small, but hugely significant margin.

Serbia were outsprinted, but third place wasn't enough for New Zealand. The US won in 6:01.85, with the Netherlands second in 6:01.99 and the Kiwis posting 6:03.31

Grant added: "We didn't know what was going on around us - just from the peripheral we were all in a line. We could just tell where we were from the markers on the bank and when we saw the last 500 - the last 250 we were just going all out, and going for broke."

New Zealand will have a record 26 rowers on 11 boats at the Olympics.

- APNZ

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