'Oarsome foursome' into final

Sizwe Ndlovu (Gallo Images)
Sizwe Ndlovu (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - South Africa’s lightweight men’s fours have qualified for Saturday's A final event at the World Rowing Championships in Chungju, Korea.

The Olympic gold medallists progressed, courtesy of a third-place finish in Friday's semi-final, crossing the line in a time of six minutes, 09:74 seconds (6:09:74), behind New Zealand in second and Great Britain in first.

The South Africans were made to work for their place, after Spain held third position until after the halfway point in the race.

But the South Africans pipped their Spanish counterparts at the finish line, having kept up with the pace throughout.

The foursome, who took gold in London last year, were competing without Matthew Brittain, who had suffered a back injury and was taking a year out of rowing.

His replacement, Michael Voerman, combined with Olympic winners James Thompson, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu, and had to qualify for the semi-final via a repechage, which they won in a time of 5:58.43.

The only other South African in action on Friday was Ursula Grobler, who finished fifth out of six rowers, in the A final of the lightweight women's single skulls event.

Grobler finished in a time of 7:59.26, more than eight seconds behind Austrian winner Michaela Taupe-Traer.

On Saturday, Naydene Smith and Lee-Ann Perse compete in the women's pairs A final, before Shaun Keeling and Lawrence Brittain, brother of Matthew, take part in the B final of the men's pairs event.

Also, Kate Johnstone and Kirsten McCann compete in the B final of the lightweight women's double-skulls event.

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