Grainger and Thornley claim dramatic rowing silver

Katherine Grainger became the first British female to medal at five successive Olympic Games after claiming a dramatic silver in the women’s double sculls rowing final with Victoria Thornley.

In a terrific race, neither Grainger and Thornley nor the Polish crew left anything out on the water at the Lagoa as they both gave everything in pursuit of the gold medal.

It was Poland who proved stronger in the final 500m though to strip Team GB of their women’s double sculls title but it proved to be a phenomenal silver medal for Grainger.

The 40-year-old arrived at Rio 2016 having won four successive medals after silvers at Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 and then gold at London 2012.

Silver at Rio 2016 means she is the first British female to medal at five Games in a row while for Thornley it was her maiden Olympic medal on her second appearance.

“I don’t think you ever feel like you are going to win but we were ahead and felt good and then you come down very quickly," said Grainger It was certainly a dramatic race.

“I don’t think we could have done anymore, we put every element into it and really gave it everything we had. We had to find something really big at the end there to hold onto the medal and I’m so please we did.

“I don’t think anything could eclipse that Olympic gold medal at London 2012 because of everything that was around it but this is certainly very special.

“There have of course been many, many dark days when I couldn’t see this happening so to be standing in the Rio sunshine with a medal around my neck is amazing.

“Regarding Tokyo 2020 – mum and dad, I promise I won’t put you through it again.”

Thornley, who was part of the Team GB eight at London 2012, was equally delighted. "I am so thankful to Katherine," said the 28 year old. "She did everything so well in the race. It was a really great race from us and a silver medal is pretty nice I think.”

Despite the medal triumph, there was some disappointment for Team GB as the quadruple sculls team of Jack Beaumont, Sam Townsend, Angus Groom and Peter Lambert finished fifth in their final while the men’s pair of Alan Sinclair and Stewart Innes fell agonisingly short of a medal as the took fourth place.

John Walton and John Collins were fifth in the men’s double sculls while Chris Bartley, Mark Aldred, Jono Clegg and Peter Chambers were fourth in the lightweight men’s four.

Elsewhere defending Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning stormed into the women's pair final in spectacular fashion with the duo looking like overwhelming favourites for gold tomorrow.