British rowing duo favourites for glory

31 July 2012 / 17:49

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning will be carrying the hopes and expectations of a nation on their shoulders on Wednesday when they go for rowing gold in the final of the women's pair.

After near misses in cycling, diving and equestrian, Glover and Stanning have the opportunity to deliver Great Britain their first gold medal of the London Olympic Games.

The home favourites will be the crew to beat, having dominated the boat class all summer with victories at all three World Cup regattas.

Glover and Stanning opened their campaign at Eton Dorney by winning their heat in an Olympic best time as they stormed into the final - and one race from history. Britain have never before won an Olympic gold in women's rowing.

"They are absolutely capable of winning that gold medal. There's nothing at all to stop them doing that," said David Tanner, the GB Rowing performance director. "Our objective in Beijing - and now - was to win our first women's Olympic gold medal.

"It's become clear there are two boats who, potentially, could win here (the women's pair and the women's double scull of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins).

"There's no question that's a very important aim, just as winning our first women's medal in 2000 was. I don't want to put excessive pressure on the pair just because of where they are in the timetable but it is really really important. It would be huge. If they can do it, it would be fabulous and have a huge impact."

Glover and Stanning's dominance this year was born out of the frustration of being beaten into silver by New Zealand at the 2011 world championships. The margin of defeat at Bled, Slovenia, was just eight hundredths of a second.

"They have only impressed me," Tanner said. "If you go back two seasons they were back-markers and spares for our eight. Last season they stepped on but didn't quite do it in Bled. It's been burning ever since and that was the motivation for the winter.

"Sometimes, if you don't win it gives you something extra. It will take someone very good indeed to beat them."