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Southland's Storm Uru and his lightweight double sculls partner Peter Taylor of Lower Hutt will row for the medals at the Olympic regatta on Saturday.
The quality New Zealand duo, former world champions and the form horses of the World Cup leadup, finished second today/last night in a semifinal at Dorney Lake that was dominated by the impressive Danish double of Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist.
The Kiwis were always in control in their quest for a top-three finish but could make no headway on the turbo-charged Danes who took control of the race by the halfway stage and powered to a ominous victory.
The New Zealanders held off the Germans for second, but the gap of more than three seconds to the Danes indicates they have their work cut out on Saturday.
"It was a bloody tough race," said Taylor. "It was semifinal time and for some crews out there their dreams are over for another four years. We've got through so you've got to be happy with that."
"It was tough conditions out there and it was tough for us to stay in the race right from the start," added Uru. "We went out there to go quick in the first 1000 but other crews just went quicker.. We put everything out there and now it's about recovering and getting refreshed and ready for the final."
Emma Twigg eased into the final of the women's single sculls with a third placing in her semifinal. The 25 year-old from Hastings was no match for Denmark's Fie Udby Erichsen but appeared to have something in hand at the finish.
Twigg, Erichsen and Chinese veteran Xiuyun Zhang split from the other three rowers at the 1000m and were content to row within themselves.
The news was not so bright for the lightweight women's double scull of Invercargill's Louise Ayling and Rotorua's Julia Edward who were left in tears as their final hopes went down the gurgler.
The New Zealanders had shown such sparking form in the two leadup World Cup events, when they set a world's best time in Lucerne, but could not reproduce that when it counted at Eton Dorney.
"It's cut throat and nasty but that is sport," said a clearly distressed Ayling afterwards. "Today, with 400m gone they took off and we tried to stick to our own race plan and it just wasn't enough."
"We were feeling really confident coming in but you just can't count anyone out," added Edward. "You can't look at past results, it is all here and now, and unfortunately we weren't strong enough today."
They struggled to cope with the pace of the semi, led out by the Germans, and powered home at the end by the impressive British duo of Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking. The New Zealanders were tail-end charlies by the halfway mark, and though they picked up the pace over the second kilometre finished nearly five seconds behind the third-placed Germans.
It was a similar story for the men's four of Tyson Williams, Jade Uru, Sean O'Neill and Chris Harris who also missed the A final when they finished fourth in their semi. They pushed hard over the second half of the race to catch the tiring Germans but could not find the late kick they needed to thrust into the top three.
- © Fairfax NZ News