The Irish men’s lightweight four (M4-) of Paul Griffin (Muckross), Richard Archibald (Lady Victoria), Eugene Coakley (Skibbereen) and Cathal Moynihan (Neptune) placed sixth in their semi-final of the Rowing World Championships in Munich this morning to progress to Saturday’s B final where they will race for Olympic qualification.
The top five of the six crews racing in that B final will qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The Irish quartet were always going to need a massive performance to qualify for the A final at this regatta between crew changes and injury this season.
The Egyptians as is their style flew out of the start `leading to the 1000metre mark with the Irish four occupying sixth at halfway just over a boat length down.
With just 500metres left it was the British four who had come through to lead with the Italians and Australians second and third respectively.
The Irish were trying to close on world champions China in fourth and Egypt in fifth but as they neared the grandstand the Chinese pushed on and rowed through the Australians to steal third.
The Irish closed on the fifth place Egyptians with every stroke but crossed the line sixth in 6:05.37; five seconds (one and a half boat lengths) down on the winners Great Britain.
They will now race Poland, the Netherlands and the USA who lost out in the other semi-final as well as Egypt and Australia from today’s race in the B final on Sunday morning for the final five Olympic qualification places on offer; one crew will lose out.
Richard Archibald had this assessment of how they race went for them: "It was a tough race, it was a fast pace out there. We went out as hard as we could and tried our best to keep our pace throughout but we got a little disconnected after halfway and we were chasing it from there."
"With the difficulties this season it was always going to be a challenge to get to the A final; we knew that. We're getting better with each race though; we've made progress as a crew over the week. We just need to concentrate on Sunday now and securing our Oylmpic qualification which was always our goal for this regatta" he concluded.
Sean Jacob finished his World Championships with a win. The Dubliner won the C final of the heavyweight men’s single sculls (M1x) which sees him 13th overall at these Championships.
The Austrian sculler had led for more than half the race with Jacob occupying second before the Commerical club man moved up a gear with 250metres left to race and powered past the Austrian.
Jacob missed out on racing for Olympic qualification at these World Championships; he needed to be in the A or B final to do so. Eleven Beijing places have been filled at this regatta.
With a further three on offer at the final Olympic qualifier in Lucerne next June Jacob can look to that regatta as a realistic target with some optimism.
In the C final of the lightweight women’s double sculls (LW2x) Sinéad Jennings and Niamh NiCheilleachair targeted a win after the disappointment of missing out on a place in the semi-finals. However, the duo finished in fourth behind Spain, Hungary and Norway.
The result sees the Irish women sixteenth overall at this regatta which is a disappointment for them.
In the non-Olympic lightweight women’s single sculls (LW1x) Ireland’s Orlagh Duddy also finished her campaign with a win also in her C final to see the Derry athlete thirteenth overall in this her debut season on the senior international stage.
The men’s heavyweight four (M4-) of Alan Martin, Sean Casey, Cormac Folan and Sean O’Neill race in tomorrow’s B final (places seven to twelve) needing to be one of the top five crews over the line to realise their dream of Olympic qualification.
They will face top class opposition in the USA, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Australia and Germany. All six crews will have the same aim but one crew is guaranteed to miss out.
This year the World Championship regatta is of added importance as it is the 2008 Beijing Olympic Qualification regatta.
The majority of Olympic qualification places will be on offer in Munich but there will be one further opportunity to qualify for Beijing at the final Olympic qualifying regatta in June 2008.