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Swiss success for rowers

Our rowers return from Lucerne, Switzerland boosted by a solid performance in the World Cup event this weekend and full of hope for the upcoming Olympic Games in London, writes Mark Etheridge.

Both our Olympic qualified boats were in action, the lightweight men’s fours and the women’s pairs.

The two combinations both make their respective A-Finals. The men’s fours blasted their way to silver in their race while the women rowed well but ended last in the final.

Said the man in the bow seat, James Thompson: “We had a solid row today ÔÇô stuck to our race plan, very patient through the first half then came through from fourth place through the Olympic champions Denmark and then Great Britain.

“At the line we were challenging China for the gold! So silver for us and back to the grindstone tomorrow!”

The Chinese crew crossed the line in 5min 53.10sec, just 0.61sec ahead of the SA combination of Thompson, John Smith, Matthew Brittain and Lawrence Ndlovu. “It was a good weekend for the team,” said national coach Roger Barrow. “The men beat all the top boats, only China managed to get ahead, so great work for the team.”

Rowing for the women were Lee-Ann Persse and Naydene Smith, a combination still getting back into the groove after Persse had to sit things out with a back injury for more than two months. She only resumed proper duties earlier this month.

Winners of the A final on Sunday were Great Britain from the US and New Zealand. “The women had a good race though,” said Barrow. “They were lying in fourth place for the majority of the race and were pipped on the line by Australia and Argentina,” said Barrow. “So still a good step for them.”


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