Britain's men's rowing four take silver in "brutal" race
Thursday, 02 August 2012
August 2 - Great Britain's lightweight men's four had to settle for silver at Eton Dorney today as what crew member Richard Chambers described as a "brutal" race saw them lose out by just a quarter of a second to South Africa, who claimed their first ever Olympic rowing gold.
Chambers along with his brother Peter, Rob Williams and Chris Bartley won Britain's third rowing medal, with defending champions Denmark taking bronze and Australia fourth.
After Denmark, with three-time Olympic gold medallist Eskild Ebbesen aboard, had led to the 1500 metres mark, South Africa, Britain and Australia all moved into contention over the final 500m.
The sprint went to the South Africans, with the Britons a fraction behind and Denmark hanging on to ensure they have won a medal at this event on every occasion since it was introduced to the Games in 1996.
The Chambers duo thus became the first British brothers to win an Olympic medal since Greg and Jonny Searle took bronze in the coxed fours at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics.
"That was really, really brutal," Richard said.
"We were just fighting, fighting through the whole thing to get ourselves back into contention.
"We struggled to keep with the pace of the other crews in the first quarter of the race but we dug our heels in and fought really hard."
Peter added: "We are gutted.
"We were unlucky to get a silver with those conditions.
"We're delighted with silver but we wanted to get gold.
"Fair play to the South Africans, they won that fair and square."
Williams said: "We wanted to win.
"We have to be happy to get a medal at our home Olympics.
"It's a shame we didn't win but what can you do?
"It's a shame."
The British quartet, who took bronze at last year's World Championships, arrived having won at the final World Cup regatta in Munich.
They had followed up an emphatic victory in the heats, where they overhauled Australia in the final 250m, with the fastest time in the semi-finals to progress to the final.
Britain's flagship coxless four earned what might turn out to be a significant semi-final victory over their arch-rivals Australia, finishing almost a second clear in 5min 58.26sec.
But Tom James, one of the three defending Olympic champions in the British boat, warned: "I think we can row better and I think we will have to in the final."
Meanwhile, Britain's defending lightweight double sculls champions Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase moved safely through to their final with a semi-final victory.
New Zealand's Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen produced a characteristic final surge to move past the Italian pair of Alessio Sartori and Romano Battista and claim gold in the men's double sculls, with the Slovenian pairing of Iztok Čop and Luka Špik claiming bronze.
The women's eight gold went to the United States, who were never headed as they extended their four-year unbeaten record, finishing in a time of 6min 10.59sec to retain their Olympic title.
Canada took silver with 6:12.06, and bronze went to the Netherlands, who recorded 6:13.12.
The British eight, bronze medallists at last year's world championships, were never in medal contention and finished fifth.
August 2012: Home celebrations as rowers Glover and Stanning earn Team GB maiden gold medal of London 2012