Phoebe Robinson and Macintyre Russell are celebrating after taking Gold in a thrilling final of the PR3 Mixed Inclusion Double Sculls at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals in Barletta, Italy.
The duo were locked in an epic struggle with Great Britain’s James Morgan and Melissa Shaw that went right down to the wire. In the end, Robinson prevailed in a dash up the beach to hit the buzzer just 0.64s in front of Shaw in a classic diving finish.
The performance was the highlight for Australia at a regatta that was slowed by difficult surf conditions. But organisers were able to bring the reserve day into play and racing was eventually completed.
Australia had six athletes in action in Italy, with Lucy Hope (Coastal Women’s Solo), Lillyan Cristaudo (Coastal Junior Women’s Solo), Marcus Della Marta (Coastal Men’s Solo) and Jack O’Toole (Coastal Junior Men’s Solo) joining Russell and Robinson on the Italian coast.
O’Toole finished four in his time trial before going down to Great Britain’s Hector Harvey in the knockout round. Della Marta was in strong form to win his time trial and progressed safely through the knockout rounds to the quarter finals.
His run would end at the hands of classy Spaniard Adrian Miramon Quiroga, who would be the eventual champion in the boat class. It was further evidence of Della Marta’s quality as a coastal athlete.
Cristaudo rowed strongly through the time trials but fell short in the knockout against Italy’s Maria Lanciano, while Hope finished ninth in her time trial and didn’t progress to the next round.
Hope and Della Marta also combined in the Mixed Double and couldn’t edge past Tunisia in their knockout event.
It was another learning experience for the Australians as they continue to grow on the bigger stage.