Johannesburg - South African women rowers Kirsten McCann and Kate Johnstone came first in their repechage to qualify for the semi-finals of the lightweight pairs at the World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea on Tuesday.
The duo, who ended third in their heat, led throughout the repechage beat Poland and Argentina, finishing in 7:00:11.
Rowing coach Roger Barrow said he was pleased to have McCann and Johnstone through to the semi-finals, despite the South African team being hit by a stomach bug ahead of the start of the competition.
“It’s going pretty well here, but some of the team have been hit by tummy bugs but we still managed to get through the rounds,” Barrow told the Road to Rio website on Tuesday.
“So far, on the table, we have four out of five boats into the semi-finals which is all good.”
The lightweight men’s fours, who took gold at the London Olympics last year, had to go into the repechage round in their category for a chance to make it into the final.
With Matthew Brittain missing from the championships, his replacement Michael Voerman combined with James Thompson, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu to finish fifth in six minutes, 9:50 seconds (6:09.50), with only the first two in the heat going through automatically.
“James Thompson was hit by that bug, but hopefully he’s back on line tomorrow morning," Barrow said.
The four South Africans would have to finish in the top three of their repechage event to qualify for the A and B finals over the weekend.
Paralympian Sandra Khumalo came third in her ASW1x heat, and second in the repechage to qualify for the A final on Thursday.