The first Australian crew to take to the water today (Monday) at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta was Rhys Grant competing in the semi-finals of the Men’s Single Sculls. Needing a top three finish to progress to the A-Final of the event, Grant was placed in Lane One, facing stiff competition from Russia, Belgium, France, Hungary and Israel
A rainy start to the day didn’t effect conditions too severely on the Rotsee and Grant paced himself out the blocks and at the 500m mark was sat in fourth, but the Western Australian is a strong racer and he controlled himself well through the semi-final. With Belgium’s Hannes Obreno leading from the start, the battle was between Australia, Hungary and Russia for the remaining two spots in the A-Final.
Grant made his move by the halfway mark and pushed into second place, chasing hard on the Belgian’s heels and trying to keep off threats from both Russia and Hungary. At the finish line it was Obreno who took the win, while Hungary made a final surge at the finish to take second, while Grant finished in third just 0.02 of a second behind the Hungarian sculler.
Grant will now take on the A-Final tomorrow (Tuesday) where he will need a top three finish to book a berth for Australia in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Joining Grant in the A-Final are crews from Belgium, Hungary, Denmark, Germany and Finland.
In the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls, the Australian pairing of Hannah Every-Hall and Georgia Nesbitt needed a top four finish to join The Netherlands and Switzerland in the A-Final. The crew, coached by Ellen Randell, were also placed in Lane One, and were up against crews from Greece, Sweden, Italy and Romania.
Every-Hall, who finished fifth at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the same boat class, has been paired this season with the upcoming Tasmanian, Nesbitt, who in 2014 won a bronze medal in the U23 World Rowing Championships in the same event. Facing stiff competition, the new pairing were chasing the competition from the start of their race, in conditions that were not as fast as their heat on the previous day.
The Swedish pairing of Cecilia Lilja and Emma Fredh led the race from the start with Italy and Greece battling behind for second and third. With Romania having had a strong start, the crew dropped back to fourth by the half-way mark giving the Australians the opportunity to push past them, but sadly it was not to be, despite a valiant effort from the crew, they finished fifth and thus will not progress any further in the regatta.
Tomorrow, alongside Rhys Grant in the Men’s Single Sculls, Australia’s Men’s and Women’s Eights will battle it out in their A-Finals, each looking for a top two finish to book more Australian berths for Rio de Janeiro.
Men’s Single Scull A-Final – 00:10 AEST (Top three qualify for 2016 Olympic Games)
Women’s Eight A-Final – 02:00 AEST (Top two qualify for 2016 Olympic Games)
Men’s Eight A-Final – 02:10 AEST (Top two qualify for 2016 Olympic Games)