Gold rush for Australia’s para-rowers who have also booked berths for their boats at the Rio Paralympics
Three able-bodied crews qualify boats for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games; Men’s Pair, Men’s Four and Men’s Quad book spots for Australia in Rio de Janeiro
Horrie, Ross and Bellis have been dominant in their respective boat classes winning titles in 2013, 2014 and now 2015. In making the A-Finals here in Aiguebelette they also booked berths for their boats at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
In addition to the two gold para-rowing medals today, three Australian crews booked A-Final places in the able-bodied rowing in Aiguebelette and in the process booked the Australian Olympic Team three berths for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The Australian Men’s Pair, Men’s Four and Men’s Quadruple Scull all finished second in their respective semi-finals which in turn ensured that they have qualified their boat to race in Rio next year.
In the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Scull it was about slow and steady winning the race for World Champion Horrie. The New South Welshman who is coached by Jason Baker took his time to work his way through the pack with Ukraine’s Igor Bondar coming out the strongest to begin with.
However, Horrie got into a 31 stroke rate pace and took control of the race, putting Bondar in second while Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev and Britain’s Tom Aggar were battling in third and fourth. Horrie had broken away from the group and maintained his pace to take the win, while Aggar snuck up on Bondar to take the silver, and the Ukrainian bronze.
Post-race Horrie said: “It’s unbelievable to win a third World Rowing Championship title. It’s certainly not something I imagined doing when I first started rowing almost five years ago now.
“My race went exactly to plan, I knew everyone was going to come out fast and today was no different than any other day. Everyone had a bit more of a hunger, but I stuck to my race plan that I had worked on with my coach and it paid off at the end of the day.”
In the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double Scull, Gordon Marcks’ crew of Ross and Bellis showed their mettle in what proved to be a tight and exciting race. The 2013 and 2014 World Champions got away with the pack, hotly pursued by Brazil, Great Britain and France.
At the 500 metre mark Ross and Bellis were in the lead with Great Britain now challenging and France also in the mix for the medals. With crowd going wild and the Australians at a stroke rate of 39, the British upped their challenge with France throwing all they had at the race but the Canberra-based duo dug deep to power over the line for their third World Championship title in a row, a first for the TAMix2x event.
“It’s fantastic to win a third World Championship. To have so many crews challenging in the A-Final, it’s great for the sport and keeps people wanting to race and makes it more exciting,” said Bellis.
“It’s a phenomenal feeling to have won a third World Championship, we knew it was going to be tough out there and it’s such an honour to be able to call ourselves three-times world champions,” added Ross.
The Men’s Pair of Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley had a great race in their semi-final to ensure that not only they are competing in the A-Final but also that Australia has a Men’s Pair boat racing at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The 2014 and 2015 U23 Men’s Pair World Champions are coached by Mark Prater and had a fantastic race which saw Great Britain’s James Foad and Matt Langridge along with Netherlands Roel Braas and Mitchel Steenman and the Australians all within a bow ball of each other in the first 500 metres. As the British began to pull into the lead the battle ensued between the Australians and the Dutch with the New South Welshman digging deep to maintain a second place position for the 750 metre mark through to the finish. It ended Britain in first, Australia second and Netherlands third with all three guaranteed boats in Rio next year and places in the A-Final this weekend alongside New Zealand, Serbia and Italy.
The Men’s Four of Will Lockwood, Joshua Dunkley-Smith, Spencer Turrin and Alex Hill were up against Netherlands and the United States who were the fastest three out the blocks. By the halfway mark the Australians had taken the lead over The Netherlands while there was a battle ensuing for third place. In the closing stages of the race the Dutch upped their rate to 41 to sneak past Australia in the final 200 metres to win the semi-final, followed by Australia with Germany taking the third spot.
Australia will now go on to contest the A-Final against Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Great Britain and Canada, all of whom have also qualified their Men’s Fours places at the Olympics next year.
David Crawshay, Karsten Forsterling, Cameron Girdletone and David Watts in the Men’s Quadruple Scull were up against World Champions Ukraine as well as an inform Switzerland. The Swiss and Australia took the lead early on but as the race reached the final 500 metres it became a battle between not just those two countries but also Lithuania and the reigning World Champions Ukraine.
With only three spots available, the Australians upped their rate but were just overtaken by Lithuania who took the win, with Australia in second and Switzerland in third, leaving Ukraine to face the B-Final.
Post-race Forsterling, who won bronze in the same boat at London 2012, said: “It was a pretty wired sort of race for us with such high stakes for it, in our case qualifying the boat for the Rio Olympic Games. We’re really pleased to get through to the final and then to book a place for Rio is a relief to have that out the way. We can now relax for a couple of hours and then start thinking about the final and hopefully getting ourselves on the podium.
“By qualifying our boat it gives us all a future for the next 12 months as we focus on ing to qualify ourselves into that boat and gives us all something to work on ahead of next year. It’s great for sculling and for our coun to have our big boat through to the Olympic Games.”
The Men’s Double Scull of Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae featured in a quarter-final against Lithuania, Italy, USA, Czech Republic and Latvia. Lithuania led the race from start to finish, however Australia’s Belonogoff and McRae paced themselves perfectly to overtake the Italians in the second half of the race to take second in the quarter-final and book themselves a place in tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Darryn Purcell and Nick Silcox of Queensland began the day for Australia under overcast skies and cool conditions. The crew, coached by Brett Crow, needed a top three finish in the Lightweight Men’s Pair semi-final to book an A-Final position. Up against an inform Great Britain, the Australians came out firing and muscled their way through the pack to sit in third for the majority of the race.
In the final 750 metres, with Great Britain and Italy in the lead, Australia upped their stroke rate to ensure they were well clear of the Czech Republic and secure themselves third place and a spot in the A-Final.
Following the pair, came young Georgia Nesbitt of Australia who was up against a tough draw in the semi-final of the Lightweight Women’s Single Scull. Nesbitt was up against New Zealand’s Zoe McBride, the Brazilian former World Champion Fabiana Beltrame as well as scullers from Italy, Canada and The Netherlands.
Nesbitt, who won a bronze medal in the LW2x at the U23 World Rowing Championships in 2014, had a cracking race watched by a packed grandstand. The Tasmanian paced herself well having seen McBride and Beltrame go out quick she crept her way through to push into third but was constantly battling Italy’s Giula Pollini. As the Italian and Australian came to the final 250 metres, Pollini gave it one last thrust to snap the third A-Final spot from Nesbitt by 0.14 of a second. Nesbitt will now contest the B-Final.
The LTA Mixed Coxed Four of Kate Murdoch, Jeremy McGrath, Alistair Chong, Sara Waitzer and coxswain Jo Burnand needed a top two finish in their B-Final to automatically qualify their boat for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
The crew, making their debut at the 2015 World Rowing Championships paced themselves through the race and chased down Germany and France who had the lead and despite a gallant push in the closing stages, the Australians finished in third and just missed out on an automatic qualification place for Rio.
In the various C/D semi-finals, Tim McDonnell in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull, finished sixth in his race and will progress to the D-Final. The Women’s Pair of Molly Goodman and Genevieve Horton won their C/D semi-final to make the C-Final, while Lightweight Women’s Double Scull of Alice McNamara and Ella Flecker were fourth in their C/D semi-final so progress to the D-Final.
The following Australians will be racing tomorrow (Friday) in Aiguebelette:
Lightweight Women’s Single Scull, Georgia Nesbitt (coached by Ellen Randell). B-Final, Lane 3. 18:02 AEST (10:02 Local Time).
Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull, Jonothan Hookway, Tom Perry, Ed de Carvalho and James Wilson (coached by David England). B-Final, Lane 3. 18:09 AEST (10:09 Local Time)
Women’s Double Scull, Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey (coached by Jason Lane). Semi-Final, Lane 5. 18:30 AEST (10:30 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final, 4… to B-Final.
Men’s Double Scull, Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae (coached by Rhett Ayliffe). Semi-Final, Lane 5. 18:37 AEST (10:37 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final, 4… to B-Final
Women’s Single Scull, Kim Crow (coached by Lyall McCarthy). Semi-Final, Lane 4. 19:26 AEST (11:26 Local Time) 1-3 to A-Final, 4… to B-Final
Lightweight Men’s Pair, Darryn Purcell and Nick Silcox (coached by Brett Crow). A-Final, Lane 6. 20:20 AEST (12:20 Local Time)
Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull, Maia Simmonds, Sarah Pound, Georgia Miansarow and Laura Dunn (coached by Ellen Randell). A-Final, Lane 5. 21:20 AEST (13:20 Local Time)
Lightweight Men’s Single Scull, Tim McDonnell (coached by Brett Crow). D-Final, Lane 6. 00:30 AEST (16:30 Local Time)
Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, Ella Flecker and Alice McNamara (coached by Mark Fangen-Hall). D-Final, Lane 3. 00:55 AEST (16:55 Local Time).