Johannesburg - A year ago they rowed into the history books as South Africa’s first world
champions and on Saturday lightweight men’s double sculls crew James Thompson
and John Smith will aim to do the same at the World Rowing Championships in
duo leads three other boats that will be vying for medals in their respective
A-finals on Lake Aiguebelette.
they boast Olympic gold medals in the four-man boat, Thompson and Smith were an unknown
quantity in the lightweight doubles in 2014 when they surprised all and sundry
with their gold-medal paddle.
week the duo coasted through the heats and quarter-finals before flying slightly
below the radar in their semi-final to book their place in the final.
to the final as the slowest qualifiers it had taken some attention away from the
South Africans as they go into the final as the underdogs.
will be us going at everyone else the hardest, we were the slowest qualifier on
the far side of the course so we are not too worried about everyone else,”
Smith told Sport24 from France.
Africa have already accomplished the first part of their goal at the World
Championships with three boats qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
lightweight women’s double sculls crew of Kirsten McCann and Ursula Grobler
finished second in their semi-final to book their place in Saturday’s final.
Olympians Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Persse also secured a women’s pair spot for
Rio and will be competing for silverware in their final.
Olympic qualifying spot we needed to get the tick but at the end of the day
that is not the goal of the year,” Thompson said.
goal is the final and we needed to get the tick out of the way and it is good
for the team to have got three ticks so far.”
and McCann has emerged has emerged as serious medal contenders and have been
growing in stature since narrowly missing out on a medal at last year’s World
Championships finishing in fourth place.
the lightweight men’s crew they won a silver medal at the final World Cup
Rowing Cup in July.
training you could see they are very capable... and we’ve always said these girls
are extremely good and their day is gonna come and hopefully it come soon,”
men’s pair crew of Shaun Keeling and David Hunt will be rowing in the B-final
and although they are out of contention for a medal they could secure another
Olympic berth if they avoid finishing last.
on Friday, the men’s coxed pair of Leo Davis and Jake Green with Morgan as
coxswain just missed out on the bronze medal in their A-final and had to be
content with fourth place.
the LTA mixed coxed four crew of Dieter Rosslee, Shannon Murray, Lucy Perold,
Dylan Trollope and Willie Morgan as coxswain finished their A-final in fifth
place on Thursday while Sandra Khumalo qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic
Games winning her AS women’s single sculls B-final.