Storm Uru sees bright side of bronze medal

MARC HINTON IN LONDON
Last updated 05:00 06/08/2012

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Rowing

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It's fair to say that Storm Uru is a glass half-full guy.

So the Southlander was looking very much on the positive side of a bronze medal finish to the Olympic regatta by he and his lightweight double sculls partner Peter Taylor. Even if, by their own admission, it wasn't the medal they were shooting for.

Uru's perspective was refreshing, to say the least. Especially when contrasted with the sulky, sullen attitude of British rivals Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter who made little effort to hide their disappointment at being pipped for another home gold by Danes Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist

"All we do is go out perform the best we can - that's why when we reflect on this occasion we'll be happy with it," said Uru after a gallant scull from the former world champion duo out in the unforgiving lane three. "You don't want to harbour any resentment. That's not very positive is it? That's the advantage you get for qualifying top. You get the advantage of lanes. It is what it is."

Uru and Taylor tried hard. Bloody hard. They chased the lead duo of the Brits and eventual winners Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist from Denmark as hard as they could. They hit third at the halfway stage, but could never quite haul in the big two, try as they might.

Their coach, Calvin Ferguson, went as far as to say they may have won the race had they been in one of the favourable lanes. Out where they were it was mighty hard work.

"These guys had an amazing row, definitely the best race they've ever had," said Ferguson. "It was really tough out there in that wind, really gusty at the start. Sure, they came here for gold, but I do believe they would have won if there had been fair conditions. That's racing for you."

Uru, the 27-year-old former James Hargest High School pupil who's spent the last five years in tandem with the Lower Hutt-born Taylor working towards this moment, said the plan now was to take some time out.

"I just need a holiday, eh. It's been bloody intense the last four years putting everything into it. We've had a rollercoaster [ride] and I just can't wait for a holiday.

"We've only had two to three weeks off after each world champs, and they aren't really two to three weeks off. I'm just looking forward to having that time when I don't have to think about rowing. I don't know what I'm going to be doing next, there's no plan.

"I'll just relax fully, and it's going to be great."

Relax, and eat. After the last five years spent making their weight cutoff, Uru and Taylor plan to splurge out on whatever they feel like putting into their stomachs. The Southlander joked he could be a heavyweight by the end of the day.

Neither sculler had any issues with the race recall soon after the start of the initial race, even though there were plenty of eyebrows raised about the Brits' claim they had a seat malfunction. "You want to race the best," said Taylor who felt the false beginning took no energy out of them.

He also paid tribute to his good friend and crewmate.

"I don't know how he does it, but he brings so much discipline, commitment and absolute aggression to the boat. He's a great guy to follow. We've had so many ups and downs the last five years, but  the good moments have been good and I'm going to classify this as one of the good moments."

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And the lightweights were just rapt to be part of a record-breaking Games haul that netted three gold medals and two bronzes for the Kiwi squad - the double gold of 24 hours earlier a huge inspiration, they said..

"That's absolutely awesome," said Uru. "This programme has gone from strength to strength. Three golds is phenomenal, and two more medals is beyond the wildest dreams I think.

"It's just awesome being from a nation that punches above its weight and brings its own level of pride and motivation when we compete. One of the major motivators is taking on these bigger nations and taking it to them."

It was not such a good day for Emma Twigg who finished just outside the medals in the women's single sculls final. She tried valiantly, but could never work herself into medal contention in a race won comfortably by Czech Miroslava Knapkova.

The women's lightweight double (third) and men's four (fifth) also finished their campaign on a slightly downbeat note in their B finals.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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