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Olympic boats show form

By Mark Etheridge

Our top rowers, including the two boats already qualified for the London Olympics later this year, were in action at the annual Buffalo Regatta in East London on Saturday.

And the event provided valuable experience and feedback for national coach Roger Barrow.

One of the boats qualified for London is the women’s pair and while Lee-Ann Persse has secured her spot in the boat, Hayley Arthur and Naydene Smith are duelling for the remaining spot.

In the women’s pair final Persse teamed up with Arthur, had a good row and beat Smith and Under-23 rower Kate Christowitz, by 9.6 seconds.

Says Barrow: “Later in the day I changed the combinations around being Lee-Ann and Naydene and Hayley and Kate and they rowed in the Men’s B pair event. Lee and Naydene had a very good row beating the field by over 40 seconds, Hayley and Kate had steering problems and they came in fourth.”

In the men’s pairs final it was Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain who won. This combination is aiming to still qualify a boat for London in May. They beat the already qualified fours combination who split into two pairs on Sunday. Matthew Brittain and James Thompson were second and Tony Paladin and John Smith were thrid.

“This is the third race that Shaun and Lawrence have done this season and they are making good progress, beating the field by 12 seconds,” said Barrow

In the coxless four (Grand Challenge) later in the day the two pairs joined up (Matthew Brittain, James Thompson, John Smith, Lawrence Ndlovu replacing Tony Paladin) against team-mates Shaun Keeling, Lawrence Brittain, Peter Lambert and Tony Paladin.”The lightweight four (Matt, James, John, Lawrence took a one-length lead from the start, but half way through the race the Keeling crew came back hard and got in front and beat the lightweight four by three lengths, a great row by the Keeling crew,” said Barrow.

In the men’s single scull (silver scull) Peter Lambert won in fine style, just one hour before the coxless four. “This even is always difficult to race due to timing,” says Barrow “but Peter ended u wining easily over Lloyd Bemelman and in third was James Buchanan, a very talented up and coming 19-year-old.’

“The last time that the same athlete won both events was in 1994, so this was a great achievement from Peter,” concluded Barrow.


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