British crews bid to stay in medal mode
August 1, 2012 19:56 pm
Great Britain will chase more gold medal glory on the rowing lake at Eton Dorney on Thursday as three crews head into final action.
The British women's pair of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning delivered the first home gold medal of the Olympics on Wednesday, with the men's eight taking bronze.
Richard and Peter Chambers, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley in the lightweight men's four are strong contenders to add to another gold to that medal haul. The world bronze medallists finished the World Cup series with a victory in Munich and they have produced two confident wins to reach the final.
Britain beat world champions Australia in their heat and then produced a strong sprint finish to win their semi-final in a time marginally quicker than chief gold medal rivals Denmark.
"We definitely have to watch out for Denmark," said Richard Chambers. "We've beaten them so we're in a really good position. We have to deliver our race. Our strategy will be exactly the same. It's the final of the Olympic Games but it's no different from any other race."
The British women's eight have been struggling to find the form that took them to bronze at last year's World Championships but they will be hoping to produce something special in their final.
Sam Townsend and Bill Lucas begin Thursday's finals programme in the men's double sculls and their podium potential improved markedly following the surprising exits of Australia and Germany in the heats.
Britain entered 13 of the 14 Olympic classes and have qualified 10 finalists so far. They should complete a full complement, with three more crews in semi-final action on Thursday. The pick of those races is the men's four semi-final, which pitches gold medal favourites Britain and Australia together earlier than had been expected.
Although three boats progress, neither Great Britain nor Australia will want to concede anything ahead of Saturday's hotly-anticipated final. The rivalry between the two crews has intensified through the summer, with Australia determined to end Britain's 12-year dominance of the event.
Elsewhere, defending champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter will be looking to build on the promising form they showed in the heats by winning their lightweight men's double sculls semi-final. Kat Copeland and Sophie Hosking then go in the women's lightweight double semi-final.
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