Duo happy with bronze amid controversy

Last updated 11:43 05/08/2012
Peter Taylor and Storm Uru
MEDAL ROW: An exhausted Peter Taylor (left) and Storm Uru after claiming New Zealand's fourth bronze medal in London.

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The buzz around Eton Dorney was that the British were lucky to get a re-row, though New Zealand's bronze medallists in the lightweight double sculls had no complaints about the controversial decision.

In the final accounting, Southland's Storm Uru and the Auckland-based Peter Taylor were content with the bronze medal they won from the re-rowed final, never mind that it might well have been a silver had the original race been left to run its course.

Soon after the start a supposed gear failure in the boat of home favourites Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter - they said the clip that held Hunter's seat twisted and jammed, preventing the movement necessary to row - forced the Brits to signal for the re-row.

Second time round the British double emerged to duel it out with the experienced Danish crew of Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist.

In a rousing finish, amid the din of the Dorney roar, the Danes slipped past the home crew to grab gold, with Uru and Taylor three seconds back in third.

Despite a number of eyebrows being raised about the legitimacy of the breakage, and a protest - subsequently dismissed - being lodged by the fourth-placed French crew, Uru and Taylor were happy to take the result as it stood.
"It's whatever the officials decide, that's what they're there for," said Uru, more than content with the bronze medal hanging around his neck.

The classy approach taken by the Southlander contrasted sharply with the sullen Brits who presented to the press conference clearly unhappy about being beaten to the gold.

"We feel confident in the decisions they make, we didn't let it affect us at all and carried on doing our business," added Taylor.

"Whatever their decision, it's final and we're 100 per cent happy with that."

Asked about what defined a breakage, Uru raised his eyebrows, and a few chuckles.

"Who knows? That's what we have officials for. I don't sit there reading the rule book - it's too bloody boring and sends me to sleep. They're completely neutral and I'm sure they made the right decision."

Added coach Calvin Ferguson: "I'm not 100 per cent sure what happened there, but we just wanted to race these guys fairly and honestly. I'm hugely proud of the guys."

Taylor said the extra distance the New Zealanders, among others, rowed at the start of the recalled race did not affect the outcome.

"We hadn't even started to feel the burn before we had to stop. It was just a practice start for us, and then we had to do it all over again.

"It's important you race all the best people in the world. It would have been disappointing if they'd lost their silvers. So it was great they did the restart because it would have been weird them not being in the final."

The New Zealanders did their best afterwards to shrug off some natural disappointment about falling short of their goals and enjoy the honour of securing an Olympic medal.

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Theirs was the fifth of this regatta, leaving the Kiwi squad with three golds and two bronzes - a haul only beaten by the Brits.

"At the moment there's a bit of mixed emotions," said Taylor. "We all came here for that elusive gold medal, and that's what's been driving us for the last five years.

"But we did our best. That's all you can ask."

The Kiwis were also done no favours by the lane redraw that saw them face the tougher conditions down the middle of the course, though once again brokered no argument with that either.

"We knew we had our work cut out for us today, that's the way it falls once you perform like we did through the heats and semi," shrugged Uru.

"We went out and raced as well as we could - certainly a hell of a lot better than we did in the semi. I'm pretty happy about that. If we'd raced like we had in the semi we wouldn't have got a medal."

Single sculler Emma Twigg was unable to force her way into the medals in the last final of the regatta, having to settle for fourth, behind Czech Miroslava Knapkova, Dane Fie Udby Erichsen and Aussie Kim Crow.

And both the lightweight women's double and men's four failed to fire in their B finals, finishing third and fifth, respectively.

- Fairfax Media

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