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Bronzed pair revels in worlds success

2 September 2011

Australian women’s pair of Sarah Tait (VIC) and Kate Hornsey (TAS) have capped off their remarkable regatta by winning a bronze medal at the 2011 FISA World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.

Hornsey and Tait secured Olympic qualification for Australia for the women’s pair yesterday after successfully qualifying for the A Final, and 24 hours later achieved double success by claiming the bronze medal behind New Zealand and Great Britain.

Their medal was all the more impressive considering Hornsey and Tait only came together as a pair on the Tuesday before the regatta, when Tait’s previous partner Phoebe Stanley was ruled out of the event with cardiac arrhythmia.

In the final, Tait and Hornsey controlled third place for the majority of the race with neither China, Romania or South Africa able to keep pace with the Australian combination, who clocked a time of 7:03.98.

Tait, co-captain of the Australian team and dual Olympian, said the bronze medal paid off some hard work.

“It’s really exciting to get the bronze medal,” Tait said. “Last year Phoebe and I got pipped for bronze by the USA but we knocked them out in the semis this year.

“We knew we’d be one step closer to a medal and it ended up that way. Hopefully we can set off a bit of a run for medals for Australia this week.”

Hornsey, who was a member of the women’s eight at the Beijing Games, was jubilant after the race.

“I am absolutely stoked with that performance,” Hornsey said. “We said that yesterday was the big one and we had to make sure we got in today’s final.

“Qualification for the Olympics was guaranteed yesterday and today we decided to have a bit of fun with it.

“We’ve only been together a week and had nothing to lose.”

In the three other A Finals contested on Day 5 of competition Australia picked up two fourth places and a fifth.

The men’s eight, coxed by Toby Lister (NSW) and containing Fergus Pragnell (NSW), Matt Ryan (NSW), Bryn Coudraye (SA), Tom Swann (VIC), Francis Hegerty (NSW), Joshua Booth (VIC), James Marburg (VIC) and John Linke (VIC) thrilled the crowd in a tight tussle against Germany, Great Britain and Canada.

With Germany set for the gold medal in the closing stages, Great Britain, Canada and Australia fought for the remaining medals, with the three crews only separated by half a second on the line.

Australia finished fourth in a time of 5:31.59, but it is a big step forward for a crew that had five world championship finalist debutants.

The women’s quad scull of Sally Kehoe (QLD), Brooke Pratley (NSW), Sarah Cook (ACT) and Amy Clay (NSW) also finished fourth after a tussle with New Zealand for the bronze medal.

Germany triumphed over USA for gold, while Australia crossed fourth in a time of 6:24.49, just over a second down on New Zealand.

The lightweight men’s pair of Blair Tunevitsch (TAS) and Tom Gibson (TAS) finished fifth in their final, recording a time of 6:35.90, with Great Britain sealing the gold medal.

Earlier on Day 5, the Australian men’s double scull and lightweight men’s four secured Olympic qualification after qualifying for their respective A Finals.

At the conclusion of Day 5 Australia has now qualified five boats for the 2012 London Olympic Games, with five Olympic class crews still holding a chance to qualify their respective boats later in the week.

Rowing Australia

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