By Mike Rowbottom

Australia's Erik Horrie retained his AS men's single scull title at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam  ©Bongarts/Getty ImagesAustralia took the lion's share of the medals as the Para-rowing events held their finals at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, taking two golds - through Erik Horrie in the Arms and Shoulders (AS) men's single sculls and Gavin Bellis and Kathryn Ross in the Trunk and Arms (TA) mixed double sculls.

They also took a silver in the Legs, Trunk and Arms (LTA) mixed double sculls thanks to Jeremy McGrath and Kathleen Murdoch.

The finals rounded off a day of competition in perfect flat water conditions, and Horrie, the defending champion, took off into an early lead which left Britain's 2008 Paralympic champion Tom Aggar and Russia's Alexey Chuvashev, bronze medallist at the London 2012 Paralympics and last year's World Championships, to dispute silver.

Aggar showed his superior stamina as he increased his lead over the Russian after the halfway mark of 500 metres, but by then Horrie was away.

"It's an absolute honour to be world champion again," he said after coming home in 4min 50.68sec.

"I was out to put Erik under pressure and was pleased to beat the Russian," said Aggar, who recorded 4:53.41 to Chuvasev's 4:58.96.

"If you had told me I was going to win a silver, I wouldn't have believed you."

Britain's Tom Aggar, the 2008 Paralympic champion, was delighted to take silver in the AS men's single sculls at the World Championships in Amsterdam ©Getty ImagesBritain's Tom Aggar, the 2008 Paralympic champion, was delighted to take silver in the AS men's single sculls at the World Championships in Amsterdam ©Getty Images

The AS women's single sculls final was billed as a battle of the newcomers, involving as it did two women who had taken up Para-rowing relatively recently - Norway's Birgit Skarstein, who embraced the sport last year and took world silver, and Britain's former hand cyclist Rachel Morris, who has been competing on the water for no more than six months.

On the day Skarstein, the fastest qualifier, proved superior, tearing out of the starting blocks to take a decisive lead.

The battle for silver was between Moran Samuel of Israel and Liudmila Vauchok of Belarus, bronze medallist from the London 2012 Games, with the former prevailing in 5:33.86 ahead of Vauchok's 5:39.10.

Skarstein came into the finish line in 5:22.12, smiling broadly.

Morris finished fifth. 

Australia's second gold of the day came after Bellis and Ross successfully defended their title in the TA mixed double sculls in the face of a strong French challenge from Perle Bouge and Stephane Tardieu, who came past the Brazilian pair of Josiane Lima and Michel Gomes Pessanha in a final sprint.

Bellis and Ross clocked 4:02.55, with France recording 4:05.11 and Brazil, for whom Gomes was racing for the first time in the Championship, finishing in 4:07.54.

In what was the second year of running for the new LTA mixed doubles class, gold went to Ukraine's defending champions Kateryna Morozova and Dmytro Aleksieiev, who held off the new Australian crew of Jeremy McGrath and Kathleen Murdoch.

The Australians got out well and led through most of the first 500m, but the Ukraine pair - using long, powerful strokes - soon came through and finished well clear in 3:28.39, with the silver medallists clocking 3:35.26 and France's Guylaine Marchand and Antoine Jesel claiming bronze in 3:36.47.

"We didn't know what to expect, the race was not easy, so we are very happy," said Morozova.

Britain's Paralympic and defending world champions came good again in the LTA mixed coxed four after taking a decisive early lead over the United States crew which had given them a run for their money in the heats.

The British combo of James Fox, Pam Relph, Daniel Brown and Grace Clough, coxed by Oliver James, were never seriously challenged and crossed the line in 3:20.45, with the US crew clocking 3:25.49 and Italy sprinting through to pass South Africa for bronze in 3:30.39.

"We are pretty relieved, we rowed to plan," said the British cox, James.

"We set off hard and kept the gas going until the end."

Daniel Hansen of the US crew commented: "In the middle of the race, I thought 'Wow we are doing it, we are in the middle of it!'

"I'm so proud to be part of one of the youngest crews in history.

"I just wish we got the gold."

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