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Silver and bronze medal haul for SA rowers at Lucerne World Cup
- Updated: May 30, 2016
South Africa’s rowers again proved their mettle when they won silver and bronze medals at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.
From a South African perspective the silver medal performance of Ursula Grobler and Kirsten McCann (Tuks/HPC) in the women’s lightweight double sculls was a definite highlight.
The South Africans were involved in a titanic battle with the crews of Canada, New Zealand and China throughout the 2 000 metres of relentless rowing. In the end the time gap between the four boats was not even two seconds.
Canada’s Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee pipped the South African crew within the last 20 or so strokes to win in 7min 10:40sec.
Grobler/McCann finished second in 7:11.47 with New Zealand’s double world champion crew, Sophie Mackenzie and Julia Edward, third in 7:11.60. China’s, Wenyi Huang and Feihong Pan, finished fourth in 7:12.19.
The Chinese led for the first 1 000 metres. Then Grobler and McCann powered their way to the front for the next 500 metres. The real battle started over the last 500 metres when the Canadian crew became stronger and stronger with each stroke.
According to McCann the racing was so intense throughout that they did not have any idea of where they were placed.
‘When we finished we had to ask the umpire whether we had to go on the podium. We had a good race and we are happy, but silver is not gold,’ the Tuks/HPC rower said.
Canada’s Jennerich was quite impressed with the way they finished. ‘Our strength is our final sprint and we now know that we can rely on it.’
James Thompson and John Smith finished third in the final of the men’s lightweight double sculls in spite of pushing themselves to the limit.
They did not get off to a good start. This meant that the South Africans were trailing in fifth place after the first 500m. To their credit they refuse to give up and upped their stroke rate to move into third place but there were not enough metres left in the race for them to catch the crews of France and Norway.
The French crew, Pierre Houin and Jereme Azou, took the lead from the start and never relented to win in 6:19.26. Norway’s Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli were second (6:21.81) throughout, with Thompson and Smith finishing third in 6:22.42.
‘If I could have changed something it would be the result. We would have liked to get the Norway crew but it was not meant to be in spite of us putting ‘everything on the table’. I guess it is back to the drawing board,’ said Smith (Tuks/HPC)
South Africa’s men’s pair, Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain (Tuks/HPC), finished fourth in their final, as did Kate Christowitch and Lee-Ann Persse (Tuks/HPC) in the women’s pair final.
Picture courtesy of Reg Caldecott