Lightweight rowers in lesser finals

15/08/2008 - 23:00:00

Opening the first day of finals racing at the Beijing Olympics, the lesser finals were fast and furious.

Made up entirely of lightweight rowers, these athletes had to weigh in two hours before their race. The weather conditions were again kind at the Shunyi regatta course with absolutely flat water and slight head wind conditions.

LIGHTWEIGHT MEN’S DOUBLE SCULLS (LM2x)

South Korea's Kangeun Jang (b) and Hongkyun Kim (s) compete against Algeria's Mehdi Garidi (b) and Kamel Ait Daoud (s) in the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Final D at the Shunyi Rowing and Canoeing Park during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing on August 16, 2008.        AFP PHOTO / MUSTAFA OZER (Photo credit should read MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)D Final

The two boats in this final, Korea (Kangeun Kang and Kim Hingkyun) and Algeria (Mohamed Garidi and Kamel Ait Daoud) carried out a full 2000m fight. Garidi and Ait Daoud got the edge at the start but Jang, 19, and Kim, 19, were giving them no room to relax. Nothing had changed going through the middle of the race with the Algerians holding just a smidgen of a lead over Korea. This was turning into a race of who would have the best sprint.

Jang and Kim had it. Holding their pace the best in the final 500m of the race Jang and Kim finish 19th overall at the Beijing Olympics. The young Koreans have a great rowing future ahead of them.

Results: KOR, ALG

Japan's Kazushige Ura (b) and Daisaku Takeda (s) celebrate their win in the Lightweight Men's Double Sculls Final C at the Shunyi Rowing and Canoeing Park during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing on August 16, 2008.      AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)C Final

What a line-up. Sitting in the starting blocks were former world champions (Hungary) and Japan’s most medalled rower (Daisaku Takeda). To get the best of these two crews would take a mammoth effort by the rest of the field. Uruguay’s Rodolfo Collazo and Angel Garcia gave it their best shot. Starting with a strong opener, Collazo and Garcia kept their rating at a high 38 stroke rate right into the second quarter of the race. This gave Collazo and Garcia the lead – but only just over Takeda and Kazushige Ura of Japan.

By the half way point the Uruguayans were running out of steam and Japan had taken over the lead. Zsolt Hirling and Tamas Varga of Hungary then picked up the pace and also got the better of Uruguay. The order remained the same to the line with the Hungarians unable to catch Japan.

Results: JPN, HUN, URU, HKG, BRA, IND

LIGHTWEIGHT WOMEN’S DOUBLE SCULLS (LW2x)

Athletes in the Lightweight Women's Double Sculls compete in the Final C at the Shunyi Rowing and Canoeing Park during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Beijing on August 16, 2008.      AFP PHOTO / MUSTAFA OZER (Photo credit should read MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)C Final

These athletes all qualified for the Beijing Olympics through their respective continental qualification regattas. The line-up included two Latin American crews, one African crew and two Asian crews. Africa led the way with Alex White and Kirsten McCann jumping out at the start and settling into a solid 32 stroke rate pace. Mexico’s Gabriela Huerta and Lila Perez Rul held on to the South Africans the best. By the half way point the Mexicans had hauled in the South Africans and moved out to a full boat length lead.

Huerta and Perez Rul were on fire. With 500m left to row they had an open water lead with McCann and White now battling to stay ahead of Brazil. A solid sprint by the South Africans to the line enabled them to hold on to second.

Results: MEX, RSA, BRA, KAZ, KOR

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