Australia’s trunk and arms mixed double scull have qualified for the 2012 London Paralympic Games this morning after winning their repechage to progress to the A Final at the 2011 FISA World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
Kathryn Ross (VIC) and John Maclean (NSW), who will still have to be selected in the crew next year despite today’s success, are now guaranteed a top six finish at the regatta, with the top eight crews winning quotas for next year.
Ross and Maclean made a significant improvement from their heat row yesterday and with their victory became the first Australian crew to qualify for either the Olympic or Paralympic Games next year.
The Australian combination was 1.5 seconds down on Great Britain through 500m but surged past their rivals in the second half of the race to win by 1.1 seconds in a time of 4:10.82.
The silver medallists from the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games will now have the chance to chase a medal in the final on Saturday (3 September).
Penrith rower Maclean said that he and Ross pieced together a far better race.
“It’s fantastic to qualify the boat for the final and ultimately qualify it for the Games next year,” Maclean said. “Kat did a great job today and we can look forward to the A Final now.
“We turned it around pretty quickly from yesterday. We sat down as a crew and talked about what we needed to do and then went out and got the result today.”
Ross, who hails from Warrnambool but now trains out of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, said she was ecstatic with the result.
“It’s great that we have the first box ticked now,” Ross said. “Hopefully we can win a medal in the final but it will be very tight racing and very close.
“The qualification is definitely a weight off our shoulders. To have qualified the boat for Australia is great and now we can focus on the final.”
Australia will compete in four other repechages later on Day 3 of the world championships with the women’s quad scull having the chance to seal Olympic qualification if they progress to the A Final.
The men’s double scull, men’s pair and men’s lightweight four all race for places in the semi-finals of their respective events.
Full coverage of the 2011 FISA World Rowing Championships will be available via live streaming at WCSN from Wednesday August 31. Visit http://www.wcsn.com.au/index.php/rowingtv.html
to subscribe for free.
Race reports for all Australian crews are available at http://www.rowingaustralia.com.au/comp_intl_wchamps_2011_race-reports.shtm
Full Australian results are available at http://www.rowingaustralia.com.au/comp_intl_wchamps_2011_results.shtm
Media Contact: David Polglase +386 51 861 233
Article by Rowing Australia, Published 31/08/2011, www.rowingaustralia.com.au