Australia claims three silver medals at Rowing World Cup14 July 2014
ROWING: The Australian Rowing Team claimed three silver medals on the final day of World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland yesterday (13 July). The medallists for the team took the form of Kimberley Crow in the Women’s Single Scull, Alice McNamara and Ella Flecker in the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls and Alexander Belongoff and James McRae in the Men’s Double Sculls.
Australia made nine A Finals at the final World Cup event of the season ahead of next month’s World Rowing Championships, however the team walked away with medals in three events and finished third overall in the 2014 World Rowing Cup ahead of next month’s World Rowing Championships.
The country’s first medal of the day came from the Men’s Double Sculls, when the crew coached by Rhett Ayliffe took the silver medal in a sprint to the line with Lithuania, in a race that was ultimately won by in-form Croatia (Martin and Valent Sinkovic) who led from start to finish.
The race saw a battle for second and third place at the start with Great Britain and Germany fighting for the medals but it was by the middle point that Australia and Lithuania moved into action and pushed the other two crews out of contention. In the sprint for the finish it was James McRae and Alexander Belongoff who had the edge over the Lithuanian crew.
South Australian McRae said post-race: “We knew our second half (of the race) is our strength and so we were just about minimising the damage in the first part. It is a step up from our bronze in Aiguebelette. We both have raced these guys (the Croatians) in 2009 as U23s in Racice.”
Australia was not so lucky in the women’s equivalent race, with favourites Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey missing out on a medal in their final race before the World Rowing Championships.
At the start, the duo, who are trained by Jason Lane, had the lead but it didn’t last long with the Australians fighting it out with Poland and Lithuania for a medal position but the ultimate winners proved to be New Zealand who flew down the outside lane to claim the gold while Lithuania earned silver and Poland took bronze.
Kehoe and Aldersey were crowned the overall winners of the World Rowing Cup for the Women’s Double Sculls having won two out of the three World Cup events this season.
In the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls Final, Australia’s Ella Flecker and Alice McNamara had a point to prove having won their semi-final over World Champions Italy to make the A-Final.
The duo, coached by Mark Fangan-Hall, powered through the race to keep up with Great Britain’s Katherine Copeland and Imogen Walsh and as the British pushed to take the lead the Australians maintained their determination and fended off a challenge from Olympians Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee of Canada to claim silver.
Victoria-born McNamara, only recently paired up with Tasmanian Flecker in this boat class, admitted that some strong words from recent Thomas Keller medal winner and Australia’s Head Coach - Integration, Drew Ginn, helped them to their medal: “It was a big turnaround from our racing in Aiguebelette at World Rowing Cup II.
“Drew put us in a room for a big chat and just whipped us into shape. The turnaround was mostly mental rather than physical, we built trust and camaraderie over the two weeks in Italy, before came here to compete. Drew made us realise what we hadn’t seen.”
One of the most hotly anticipated races of the day came in the form of the Women’s Single Scull final. Australia’s World Champion, Kimberley Crow, was up against the usual suspects of the in-form Emma Twigg of New Zealand as well as Olympic Champion, Mirka Knapková.
Twigg had a fast start and had the lead with 500m rowed but Crow was also right up at the front with the Kiwi and the two top scullers moved clean away from the rest of the field.
The duo continued to lead the race and with 500m left to row, Twigg was still leading despite Crow having had a good overlap of the New Zealander the majority of the race, it was Twigg who claimed her third straight victory of the season. Crow took her second silver of the World Cup season, while Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig was awarded third.
“It is a good rivalry with Emma. We are pretty evenly matched, she has got the better of me the last couple of times but it was a good race today. I do have a lot to improve on, but we have got time ahead of the World Rowing Championships,” admitted Crow.
The Australians made a number of finals today with some tight finishes, including the Women’s Quadruple Sculls, featuring Jessica Hall, Madeleine Edmunds, Jennifer Cleary and Kerry Hore, who finished fourth in a hard fought race where Germany ultimately claimed gold.
In the Lightweight categories, the Darryn Purcell and Alister Foot finished fifth in the Lightweight Men’s Pair, while the Lightweight Men’s Four of Blair Tunevitsch, Thomas Gibson, Samuel Beltz and Nicholas Silcox also finished fifth in their A-Final.
The Australian Men’s and Women’s Coxed Eights faced tough fields in each of their races, both finished sixth, with Canada claiming the female event and Germany the men’s event.