The LTA mixed coxed four: Germany versus Great Britain
Germany have thrown down the gauntlet, and it is up to Great Britain to answer it.
In the heats of the LTA mixed coxed four at the 2012 Paralympic Rowing Regatta, Germany rowed a technically excellent and very fast race to win their heat and smash the World Best Time by over five seconds at 3:15.91.
Great Britain rowed down the Paralympic course in the following heat. Starting out fast, the British crew executed their race plan and cruised to the line looking very comfortable to win and qualify for the final. Will they have something left to show the expectant home crowd?
Great Britain has a stellar history in the LTAMix4+, claiming World Rowing Championships titles from 2004 to 2006, as well as gold in 2009 and 2011. Naomi Riches, who has been rowing in the boat since 2004, is a five-time World Champion and has a Paralympic bronze medal to her name.
The British remain one of the favourites for a medal.
James Roe simply said the race “went really well”. When asked about the German World Best Time set, he stated: “We are not going to compare the heats as conditions will change. We turned up and did what we were hoping to do.”
Pamela Relph echoed this: “We always knew they were going to push us. You can get too wrapped up in how other boats are doing. It was just a case of executing our race plan.”
Germany and Great Britain enjoyed a thrilling race at the 2012 Munich Adaptive Regatta earlier this year. Germany took the early lead, before Great Britain rowed through them in the final 100m to claim the gold medal. A finish as close, or indeed closer, could happen today, Sunday 2 September.
But what of Canada? Previous to this regatta, Great Britain and Canada have had a great rivalry in this boat class. In 2010, Canada pipped Great Britain at the line to win the World Rowing Championship gold medal, whilst in 2011, fortunes were reversed as Great Britain claimed the title. Today Canada found themselves in third position in the repechage, and therefore will race the B Final today. The crew were disappointed.
Meghan Montgomery stated: “We are gutted. It just wasn't enough. We need to get off the water and look at some data and have some time to refocus for tomorrow to race the B final”.
Who else could be in contention for the medals? Ukraine and Italy won the two repechages on Saturday, whilst China and the United States of America also qualified.
USA’s Andrew Johnson showed how driven they are.
“We're young and strong and hungry and we need to use that to our advantage. They might think they are cheering for the British but we'll be using the crowd definitely."
The size of the crowd and the noise they make was not lost on the Italian boat either. Cox Alessandro Franzetti said: “This will be the biggest crowd we have ever rowed in front of but it won't make us more nervous. It will charge us up - supercharged.”
When asked about Italy’s chances of medalling, Franzetti replied: “My crew can only do our best and if we win a medal, then OK. We know we have worked hard for many months but so have the other crews.”
The A-final of the LTA mixed coxed four will be raced at 11:50 BST.