Two Kiwi crews miss Olympic rowing spot

MARC HINTON
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2012
NZ lightweight four

MISSING OUT: The men's lightweight four has finished one spot off a place at the London Olympics.

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There were no regrets, no recriminations. Just an acknowledgement from Duncan Grant that he and his Kiwi lightweight four were not good enough on the day.

It was a gut-wrenching final day for the two New Zealand crews in action at the "Last Chance" regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, yesterday, where final spots for the London Olympics were on the line.

Both the men's lightweight four and men's eight finished one spot off a place at the Games.

"We had our best race of this year in that final, unfortunately we just got pipped by two better crews on the day," said Grant, who switched to the four after winning three world titles in the non-Olympic lightweight single scull.

Grant and crewmates Curtis Rapley, James Lassche and Graham Oberlin-Brown needed to finish in the top two, but came home third, behind the Americans and the Dutch. The New Zealanders were third at the halfway mark – just a second off the all-important second spot – and with 500m to go had moved within 0.07s of the Netherlands. That was as close as they got, with the Dutch holding on to second by 1.34s.

It was a similar story in the men's eight where the New Zealand crew of Richard Harrison, Fergus Fauvel, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Hamish Burson, Ian Seymour, Ben Hammond, Adam Tripp, David Eade and coxswain Ivan Pavich finished nearly four seconds behind the United States, who claimed the three-boat final's sole London spot.

Grant, 31, said his crew were holding their heads high despite being "bitterly disappointed" their Olympic dream had been denied.

"We couldn't do any more than what we did," he said.

The Olympic-bound New Zealand contingent of 27 rowers spread over 11 boats will launch their London buildup in a World Cup in Lucerne, beginning on Friday.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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