Tokyo Olympics

SA rowers have disappointing start but progress to repechage in Tokyo

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South African rowing team Lawrence Brittain, Kyle Schoonbee, John Smith and Sandro Torrente
South African rowing team Lawrence Brittain, Kyle Schoonbee, John Smith and Sandro Torrente
Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images

South Africa's rowers had a disappointing start to their Olympic campaign as they finished last in both the men's pair and men's fours heats.

Rowing has become one of South Africa's most successful sports, claiming back-to-back Olympic medals.

The rowing team, coached by Roger Barrow, have two former Olympic champions in their squad, namely John Smith (2012 gold medallist) and Lawrence Brittain (2016 silver medallist).

First up was the men's pair, which saw Luc Daffarn and Jake Green get their campaign under way. The duo failed to make the semi-final after finishing fifth and last in heat one as they crossed the finish line in a time of 7:04.03.

Romania (6:33.86), Netherlands (6:36.42) and Serbia (6:43.18) qualified in the semi-finals in their heat.

Daffarn and Green have, however, qualified for the repechage - scheduled to get under way on Sunday (03:40 SA time).

Then in a powerful men's fours squad, which consisted of Brittain, Green, Kyle Schoonbee and Sandro Torrente, finished last in their heat in a time of 6:25.34. 

Australia (5:54.27) and the United States of America (5:57.27) won the heat and qualified for the final A.

It is not the end of the road for South Africa's men's fours as they progressed to the repechage scheduled on Sunday at 06:10 SA time.

*Lynn Butler is in Tokyo covering the Olympics for Sport24.

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