Rio Olympics 2016: Abandoned rowing creates issue for women's pair

New Zealand's Eve Macfarlane and Zoe Stevenson were one of several Kiwi boats to battle in rough conditions on the opening day of racing at the Rio Olympics. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Eve Macfarlane and Zoe Stevenson were one of several Kiwi boats to battle in rough conditions on the opening day of racing at the Rio Olympics. Photo / AP

The winds plaguing the Olympic rowing regatta have blown a problem into the path of the Kiwi women's pair.

Rowing on day two as abandoned after strong gusts whipped through Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, forcing organisers to squeeze races into a condensed schedule tomorrow.

Victims of that are the women's pair of Rebecca Scown and Genevieve Behrent, who were to race their first heat overnight.

That has been pushed back to tonight and will fall less than four hours after the women's eight's opening heat. The pair are in the big boat, which is competing at an Olympics for the first time for New Zealand.

Two races in the same day is a taxing schedule and one which eights coach Dave Thompson was desperate to avoid.

He told NZ Newswire before the Games that it was important the pair weren't forced into a repechage which, under the original schedule, would have set up a same-day clash.

"It's extremely high-risk on the group having the girls in both boats," he said.

"In an Olympic Games it's not done very often and if racing doesn't work out the way we want, we end up with two girls racing close together.

"It's a lot of energy expenditure in a very short space of time."

The scenario was forced on the Kiwis by winds even stronger than the first day, which forced the rowers to compete in choppy waves.

The New Zealand team believe the first day should have been postponed and high performance boss Alan Cotter was pleased organisers had made an early call on day two. He said it was clear no racing would be possible when the lightweight men's four's boat almost sank during a morning training row.

Under regatta rules, if there are further delays, the progression in each class can be shortened.

Removing quarter-finals and repechages would leave the remaining rowers rated on their heat performances.

Cotter warned his rowers about the possibility of such a scenario and was pleased that six out of seven crews won their heats on Saturday, ensuring a top ranking.

He was surprised the impact wind was having after last year's junior world championship, held in August, was unaffected.

Cotter says the regatta is more flexible around delays than a world championships, which is nearly double the size in terms of athletes and classes.

- AAP

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