South Africa

Solid start for SA rowers

2015-08-31 13:39
John Smith and James Thompson (Getty Images)

Johannesburg- 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 classes.

Men’s 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 Tuesday’s quarter-finals.

With 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.

Shaun 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.

The women’s pair of Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Persse had to finish first in their heat for direct passage to the semi-finals.

The 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.


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