New Zealand's new lightweight four failed to make the A final at the World Cup rowing regatta in Belgrade yesterday after a brave effort on debut – leading until the final sprint when it was demoted to third and consigned to the B final.
They will be joined in the B finals by the heavyweight four, who also narrowly failed to make it through. The eight was eliminated after finishing fifth and last in the repechage.
Needing a first or second to qualify for the A final, Curtis Rapley, James Lassche, Graham Oberlin Brown and Duncan Grant took the lead early and were still ahead at 500m.
They held onto the lead through halfway by half a second from China and less than a second from France. They were still ahead by just tenths of a second 500m later. The more seasoned and experienced crews alongside them just managed to pull through on the final sprint to the line, however, leaving the New Zealand crew about a boat length short of qualifying.
"We stuck to our race plan and learned that at our best we are up with the best crews in the lightweight four field," Grant said.
The heavyweight four of Tyson Williams, Jade Uru, Chris Harris and Sean O'Neill also failed to make the A final, after having been in contention. Another new-look crew, it held third place until the final 500m before being overtaken by the Czech Republic in the sprint for the final qualifying spot. Greece and Belarus took the top two places.
- Fairfax Media
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