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Horrie books Australia another 2016 Paralympic Games berth

It was a busy fourth day of the 2015 World Rowing Championships with 10 crews in action on Lac d’Aiguebelette, France.

Erik Horrie in the Arms and Shoulders Men’s Single Scull continued his fine form to book a place in the A-Final of his boat class tomorrow after winning his semi-final in a time of 4.41.37. Horrie will be hot favourite to retain his World Championship title for a third year in a row when it comes to tomorrow’s para-rowing finals especially after winning so conclusively today in France.

By virtue of making the A-Final, Horrie has booked a place for his boat class at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, just as Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross have done already in the Trunk and Arms Mixed Double Scull by virtue of make their final. Both crews will bid to make it a triumvirate of World Championship titles tomorrow when they compete in their A-Finals.

Still in with a chance of qualifying their boat class for Rio de Janeiro will be the LTA Mixed Coxed Four. The crew finished fifth in their semi-final which was won by an inform USA, so the crew coxed by Jo Burnand, will now contest the B-Final tomorrow. Should they finish top two in the B-Final, they will then qualify the boat for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

The day was started by the able-bodied rowers with a number of Australians qualifying into the next round of competition. Kim Crow continued her good form in the Women’s Single Scull today by leading her quarter-final from start to finish and booking herself a place in the semi-finals of the 2015 World Rowing Championships. The London 2012 bronze medallist in the boat class needs to finish in the top nine here to qualify the boat for Rio de Janeiro, but her eye is not only on Rio but also on taking home a second World Championships title.

The Women’s Double Scull of Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey raced in their repechage requiring a top two finish to make the semi-finals. Facing off to Canada, South Korea, France and Sweden, Jason Lane’s crew led the race from start to finish in order to secure their place in the semi-finals on Friday. The crew held of challenges for the lead at the finish by France to claim the win in a time of 6:58:98.

In chilly conditions after heavy rain yesterday, first on the course was Tim McDonnell in the Lightweight Men’s Single Scull. Up against scullers from Puerto Rico, Portugal, Germany, Slovenia and Peru it wasn’t to be for McDonnell who finished sixth in the quarter-final and will now contest the C/D Semi-Final.

Following McDonnell it was another lightweight category, this time the Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull of Jonothon Hookway, Tom Perry, Edward de Carvalho and James Wilson. The crew needed a top two finish to go through to the A-Final and were in the contention for the majority of the race leading with Great Britain.

However, at the 1250 metre mark the USA crew put their foot on the gas and an almighty battle began between Australia and USA to decide who would take the second A-Final qualification place with Great Britain having sewn up the lead. As the crews approached the line, the Australians gave it one last push but it was the Americans who surged ahead to claim the second A-Final place by just 0.27 seconds.

In the Men’s Pair quarter-final, the U23 silver medallists of Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves needed a top three finish to qualify for the semi-finals in their boat class. The young pair sat in second throughout with Serbia claiming the win, while Spain took third place and all three booking their spots in the semi-finals.

The Lightweight Women’s Double Scull of Ella Flecker and Alice McNamara competed in one of the tightest races of the day. The Australians were up in contention for a top three finish with Denmark and Sweden at the halfway mark but the inform Charlotte Taylor and Katherine Copeland of Great Britain saved their energy to push through in the final 500 metres to usurp all the crews and take the win, followed by Denmark and then Sweden. The result means that Flecker and McNamara head to the C/D semi-final

Cheered on by a almost full grandstand, the Australian Women’s Coxed Eight took to the water in their repechage. Faced with the tough challenge of finishing top two, the crew were drawn against Great Britain, European champions Russia, Romania, China and Germany. Coxed by Sarah Banting, the crew sat in third until the halfway mark but then dropped back into fourth and by the 1500m mark the British and Russians had established their lead to snap up first and second place and spots in the A-Final while Australia finished fifth and will race the B-Final.

Similarly to the Women’s Eight, the Men’s Coxed Eight were involved in a tough repechage up against USA, New Zealand, Netherlands and Spain. Needing a top two finish to make the A-Final, the crew had made a seating change from their heat, placing Josh Booth in the stroke seat and moving Fergus Pragnell into the four seat.

The Australians however were hard pushed in the repechage with Netherlands, New Zealand and USA coming out hard and sitting the majority of the race in fourth it was the Dutch and New Zealanders who battled for the top two places and booked a spot in the A-Final.

Tomorrow sees the following Australians competing, including to A-Finals where Erik Horrie, Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis will be aiming to win their third successive World Para-Rowing Championship title:

Lightweight Men’s Pair, Darryn Purcell and Nick Silcox (coached by Brett Crow). Semi-Final, Lane 5. 18:14 AEST (10:14 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final; 4…B-Final.

Lightweight Women’s Single Scull, Georgia Nesbitt (coached by Ellen Randell). Semi-Final, Lane 5. 18:42 AEST (10:42 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final; 4… B-Final

Men’s Pair, Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves (coached by Mark Prater), Semi-Final, Lane 5. 19:03 AEST (11:03 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final; 4… B-Final

Men’s Four, Alex Hill, Spencer Turrin, Josh Dunkley-Smith and Will Lockwood (coached by Simon Cox), Semi-Final, Lane 3. 19:45 AEST (11:45 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final; 4… B-Final

Men’s Quad Scull, David Watts, Cameron Girdlestone, Karsten Forsterling and David Crawshay (coached by John Driessen), Semi-Final, Lane 3. 19:52 AEST (11:52 Local Time). 1-3 to A-Final; 4… B-Final

Men’s Double Scull, Alexander Belonogoff and James McRae (coached by Rhett Ayliffe), Quarter-Final, Lane 5. 20:14 AEST (12:14 Local Time). 1-3 to Semi-Finals; 4… Semi-Final C/D

Lightweight Men’s Single Scull, Tim McDonnell (coached by Brett Crow), Semi-Final C/D, Lane 1. 20:29 AEST (12:29 Local Time). 1-3 to C-Final, 4.. to D-Final

Women’s Pair, Molly Goodman and Gen Horton (coached by Bill Tait), Semi-Final C/D, Lane 3, 20:49 AEST (12:49 Local Time). 1-3 to C-Final, 4.. to D-Final

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull, Ella Flecker and Alice McNamara (coached by Mark Fangen-Hall), Semi-Final C/D, Lane 4, 21:14 AEST (13:14 Local Time). 1-3 to C-Final, 4… to D-Final

LTA Mixed Coxed Four, Kate Murdoch, Jeremy McGrath, Alistair Chong, Sara Waitzer and Jo Burnand (c) (coached by Gordon Marcks), B-Final, Lane 5. Top 2 qualify for Rio 2016 Paralympics

AS Men’s Single Scull, Erik Horrie (coached by Jason Baker), A-Final, Lane 3. 00:55 AEST (16:55 Local Time).

TA Mixed Double Scull, Kathryn Ross and Gavi Bellis (coached by Gordon Marcks), A-Final, Lane 4. 01:10 AEST (17:10 Local Time)