Australian quartet ride Olympic wave
31 August 2011
The women’s quad scull today became the first Australian boat to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games after winning through to the A Final at the 2011 FISA World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
With seven quota places for next year’s Olympics available in the women’s quad scull event, the Australian crew of Sally Kehoe (QLD), Brooke Pratley (NSW), Sarah Cook (ACT) and Amy Clay (NSW) is now guaranteed a top-six finish.
After only narrowly missing out on qualifying for the final in their heat row on Sunday, Australia produced another classy performance in their repechage to lead home Ukraine by 1.34 seconds in a time of 6:22.31.
Toowoomba rower and stroke of the crew, Kehoe, said the crew had completed its first goal.
“We’re really happy with the performance today,” Kehoe said. “That’s our first goal and now we’re in the top six and can go for a medal.”
3-seat Pratley said the crew had confidence heading into the race.
“There was a lot of confidence that we could grind them (Ukraine) down and it was a good hit out for us,” Pratley said. “It was good for us to go through the repechage and gave us more time to gel ahead of the final.”
Three more Australian crews took significant steps to qualifying their boats for the London Games after winning through to the semi-final stage of the regatta.
The men’s double scull, lightweight men’s four and men’s pair all require top eleven finishes in the regatta to gain Olympic qualification, with all three crews now featuring in the last twelve boats of their respective classes.
Olympic champions Scott Brennan (TAS) and David Crawshay (VIC) won their repechage in style, overpowering the field in the final 1000m to cross the line in 6:15.11, over four seconds clear of Lithuania.
Australia’s lightweight men’s four crew, who are the reigning world championship silver medallists, won in similarly convincing fashion, with a five and a half second victory over the Czech Republic in their repechage.
Todd Skipworth (WA), Ben Cureton (WA), Sam Beltz (TAS) and Anthony Edwards (TAS) recorded a time of 5:54.34 to book their semi-final place.
The final Australian crew in action on Day 3, the men’s pair of Cameron McKenzie-McHarg (VIC) and Tom Larkins (VIC), surged home in the final 1000m to claim second place behind Germany.
McKenzie-McHarg and Larkins were fourth through 500m of the race but fought back strongly to finish in a time of 6:29.76.
The results capped another successful day for the Australian Rowing Team, who earlier secured its first 2012 London Paralympic Games qualification after Kathryn Ross (VIC) and John Maclean (NSW) won through to the final of the trunk and arms mixed double scull.
Seven Australian crews will be in action on Day 4 of the 2011 FISA World Rowing Championships, as Australia looks to continue its good run of results.