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Kiwi crews face uphill battle to qualify

Kiwi crews face uphill battle to qualify

Both New Zealand crews aiming to qualify at this week's Last Chance Qualifying regatta in Lucerne face uphill battles after failing to impress in their first races.

There is just one Olympic qualifying position available in the men’s eight and the USA have been firmly focussed on not breaking with the tradition of having a men's eight at the Olympics. The US has been in the eight in every Olympic Games and to miss out in 2012 has meant a huge effort for the qualifying regatta.

In the first heat they stamped their authority on the event early, leaving the other crews - including New Zealand - what could be done to beat them. Only one can qualify for London.

In what was effectively a race for lanes in the final, the US dominated, taking the lead and by the halfway point had stretched this to three seconds over France. The United States crossed the finish line well in the lead with New Zealand way back in second, some eight seconds down - a gulf in rowing terms.

The lightweight four of Curtis Rapley, James Lassche, Graham Oberlin Brown and Duncan Grant once again took the lead early and maintained it well into the second half of the race. But once again, the finishing pace of their rivals seemed faster and in the last part of the race both Serbia and Spain made their moves and rowed through. With just one qualifying directly to the heat, the Kiwi crew is left with the prospect of racing in the repechage to qualify for the final and then having to beat at least one of the heat winners and everyone else in the field to secure the top two finishing position that will see them qualify for London.

ends

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