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British rowers break Olympic record

Grainger and Watkins look set for gold after impressive heat victory

Image Credit: AFP
Great Britain’s Anna Watkins (left) and Katherine Graingercelebrate after winning their women’s double sculls heat ofthe rowing event in Eton, west of London on Monday.
Gulf News

Dubai: Great Britain’s Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins smashed the Olympic record as they progressed to the final of the double sculls event at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre today.

Three-time Olympic silver medallist Grainger, 36, and Watkins, 29, who are unbeaten since they teamed up in 2010, won their heat in six minutes 44.33 seconds — beating the previous mark set by Germany at Barcelona 1992 by nearly five seconds. It was their 21st successive race victory and they will be hot favourites to win gold in Friday’s final.

Grainger said: “I’m really pleased with our first event. You can hear the crowd but you feel it in your body, pulsing through you.

“We’re very lucky to have this incredible support from around the country. It lifts you like nothing else.

“The plan for the next four days is feet up... not! We’ve got an adrenalin high now and we’re both aware we can enjoy it for the next few hours, but we need to bring it back down.

“We’ll head back to training and a dull lifestyle to get everything in place for Friday.”

Men’s teams make progress

The British men’s four also won their heat to progress to Thursday’s semi-finals, while GB’s men’s eight held off a fast-finishing Canada to win the repechage and qualify for Wednesday’s final.

In the swimming pool, Britain’s Hannah Miley reached the 200m medley semi-finals. Miley was 10th-quickest in 2:12.27.

Britain’s Caitlin McClatchey reached the women’s 200m freestyle semi-finals by winning her heat ahead of French world bronze medallist Camille Muffat.

McClatchey went through in a time of 1:58.03, but the 26-year-old faces stiff competition from Italy’s Federica Pellegrini, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom, and American duo Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt for medals in the event.

Paula Radcliffe’s misfortune in missing the marathon event through injury has opened the door for Freya Murray, who will replace her in the August 5 race