Second time lucky for GB men's eight
July 30, 2012 11:24 am
The Great Britain men's eight rowing team qualified for the Olympic final with a victory over Canada and Holland in the repechage.
The new-look Great Britain crew made a fast start and quickly opened a three-quarter-length lead over reigning Olympic champions Canada to take control of the race.
The Canadians, Holland and Australia all put the pressure on in the final stages and succeeded in closing the gap but Britain remained calm, rowing within themselves at 36 strokes per minute to seal the win and a place in Wednesday's final.
The British crew only came together six weeks ago when stroke man Constantine Louloudis proved he had recovered from a back injury which kept him out of all three World Cup regattas.
After a confidence-boosting performance in the heat, finishing second behind Germany, Britain will be better again for the outing having won without having to hit top gear in a final sprint.
The British women's quadruple scull squeezed into their Olympic final after battling back from the brink of elimination to finish third in their repechage.
Beth Rodford, Debbie Flood, Frances Houghton and Melanie Wilson were trailing last in the six-boat field around the half-way mark before producing a strong push in the second 1,000 metres.
The British men's four, seeking to extend a golden dynasty in the event that stretches back through three Olympic Games, dominated their heat to qualify for the semi-finals.
Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed, Tom James and Alex Gregory opened clear water by the halfway mark and they were roared home to victory by supporters in the packed grandstands at Eton Dorney.
Britain won by just over a length from Romania and it was a strong response to their chief rivals Australia, who won their heat in an Olympic-best time. The semi-finals are still to come on Thursday but it is already shaping up to be a thrilling Ashes-style showdown for gold between Britain and Australia on Saturday.
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