South Africa got their World Rowing Championships in France off to a good start
with three boats automatically advancing to the next round in their respective
lightweight double sculls champions, James Thompson and John Smith, were on
track to defend their title winning their heat while the women’s crew of
Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler also won their heat to book a spot in
the top three boats in each heat going through to the quarters, Olympic silver
medallists Thompson and Smith won theirs in style staying in front from start
to finish with Mexico finishing behind them in second.
Grobler and McCann,
who are looking to upgrade their fourth-place finish from 2014 to a podium spot,
stormed into the quarter-finals with a strong showing in their heat with a
top-four required to see them through to the next round.
Keeling and David Hunt, who clinched the men’s pair at last year’s
championships in the Netherlands, won their heat for a quarter-finals spot.
women’s pair of Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Persse had to finish first in their
heat for direct passage to the semi-finals.
duo finished their heat second behind Great Britain’s Heather Stanning and
Helen Glover and will be racing in Tuesday’s repechage.
The men’s heavyweight
fours crew of Lawrence Ndlovu, Vince Breet, Lawrence Brittain and Jonty Smith came
painstakingly close to an automatic pass to the semi-finals.
The quartet was set a
target of finishing their heat as the top boat, but was beaten to the line by
the United States crew and will also be racing in a repechage.
Kate Johnston, who
was racing in the lightweight women’s single sculls where she finished her heat
in fourth place, will be in action the repechage on Tuesday.