In New Zealand, the World Rowing Championships opened on Lake Karapiro on Wednesday (1 November).?
GV Women's eights heat won by West Germany, with Bulgaria second, and the United States third, ahead of New Zealand (2 shots)
GV Single sculls third heat won by J. Alexander of New Zealand, with H. Svensson of Sweden second, and F. Biondi Italy third
GV Eights first heat won by East Germany, with New Zealand second (2 shots)
COMMENTATOR: "What a great finish this is going to be for the minor places. The Federal Republic of Germany in first place, the Bulgarians on the far side and then there's New Zealand and the United States. It is of course -- the United States -- and New Zealand fighting it out for a minor placing. The crowd are getting right behind the New Zealand crew, but its going to be the West German crew, the Federal Republic, they're going to take this one away. The Federal Republic coming across now to win the very exciting finish. In second place would be Bulgaria, in third the United States, just ahead of New Zealand.
Only a hundred metres to go, John Alexander out in front -- the crowd warming to him, and vice versa I would imagine. He's actually going ahead of Svensson. With about twenty metres to go, Alexander from New Zealand takes up first success for the country in terms of a first placing in the third elimination heat of the single sculls -- a great performance. First Alexander, New Zealand, second Svensson from Sweden, and in third place would be Biondi, but that was a great performance.
"Its East Germany and New Zealand -- East Germany have three quarters of a boat length over New Zealand. Coming home to the finish and its going to be a length for East Germany over New Zealand in a great heat on the part of both these crews. Less than a length in fact with a time of 6.2,01."
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Background: In New Zealand, the World Rowing Championships opened on Lake Karapiro on Wednesday (1 November). A crowd, estimated at over 20,000 watched the first day of the event -- the firs ever to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. In the first hear of the men's `eights' New Zealand chased East Germany all the way home. But New Zealand managed a first place in men's single sculls heat. In the women's `eights', West Germany was the first home.
The World Rowing Champions in Double Sculls, Chirs Baillieu and Mike Hart, fly out with the rest of the British Team from Heathrow this evening (Friday 22nd September) to Sydney en route for the Championships in New Zealand, where they are hoping to retain the title they won in Amsuerdam last year. This remarkable Double, which has won a medal every year since they first competed in 1973, including a Silver at Montreal, will be facing amongst the usual strong opposition from Easter Europe, the Norwegian combination of the hansen brothers, who won the gold medal in Montreal, but did not compete last year. Chris and Mike, who have been preparing for the Championships with all their usual dedication and determination, will be carrying Britain's best chances of a gold medal at the Championships.
Also in the British Team, which is considered one of the strongest in recent years, a re last year's Silver medallists int he Coxless Pairs, Him Clark and John Roberts. Although they have had a disappointing season, they have suffered from recurrent injury and illness, they are returned to full fitness and are hoping to recapture their form of last year and again be amongst the medals. They are coached by Penny Chuter, one of the National Coaches. This is the first time that a British men's crew has been coached at a World Championships by a woman.
Time Crooks, a member of our Montreal Olympic's silver medal Eight, is intent on improving the fourth place he reached last year in the Single Sculls.
The Coxless Four and Quad Sculler, which are both young crews, are also looking to improve on last years performances, and must stand good chances of reaching the finals.
Chris Blackwall, coach of the Eight which finished fifth last year, has made some changes in the crew which raced at Lucerne Regatta in July. After a series of extensive tests and trials he has brought in two new people with no previous international experience, and has also changed the rowing order in a move to recapture their earlier promising form. He now considers he has the physiologically soundest of the people available and does not expect the crew to perform below par.
The only women's crew in the Team, Astrid Ayling and Pauline Hart, is in the Double (Coached by a man!) finishing fifth last year, and are determined to improve on that place this year in an event which tends to be dominated by Eastern European crews.
The Team are spending four weeks training in Sydney, Australia, prior to the Championships to acclimatise adequately in view of the difference in clock and the seasons.
The man's Team are being sponsored by NATIONAL WESTMINSTER BANK and the women's Team by BRITISH HOME STORES.
For further information, please contact:
Hugh Twiss Home 01-736 8309
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or David Lunn-Rockliffe Daytime 01-748 3632