Lightweights must race again after Chinese defeat

THE Irish men’s lightweight four of Gearoid Towey, Eugene Coakley, Richard Archibald and Paul Griffin will have to take the repechage route in order to qualify for the semi-finals at the Rowing World Championships after they were unexpectedly defeated by the Chinese four in yesterday’s heat.

Both lightweight doubles will also contest tomorrow’s repechages to try and advance to the semi-finals.

Despite a strong challenge the Irish crew never drew level with the American duo who led from start to finish and held on by half-a-length at the finish.

Reflected Richard Archibald: “The Chinese took us by surprise in the third quarter of the race, which is usually where we show our strength. They just pulled to far away from us to be able to catch them. We’ve certainly learned a valuable lesson from the race but we’re just focusing on the repechage now. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise to have an extra race with the Championships stretching over a week.”

The lightweight men’s double (LM2x) of Richard Coakley and Tim Harnedy will also to row in the repechages after they finished sixth in their heat.

The Skibbereen twosome will have to improve if there are to be in with a chance of semi-final qualification.

The three Irish heavyweight boats are back in action today in the repechages. Garda’s Caroline Ryan (W1x) is first out at 10.30am in the heavyweight women’s single scull. The sculler has already impressed many in this her debut season but she will be hoping to crown her season by qualifying for the semi-final.

Sean Jacob (W1x) drew the short straw having to contend with this year’s World Cup champion; Coleraine man Alan Campbell in his repechage, as well as the Swiss and Finish scullers. The top two finishers will advance to tomorrow’s semi-finals.

The men’s heavyweight four (M4-) of Cormac Folan, Sean O’Neill, Sean Casey and Alan Martin will have France and the Czech Republic to contend with in their repechage at 12.06pm. The repechages are the second chance for the crews who do not automatically qualify through the heats to advance to the semi-finals.

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