Rio hopes fade for Aussie rowing eights

Australia’s Rio Olympics rowing team look set to head to Brazil next year without either a men’s or women’s eight after missing qualification in France on Wednesday.


Both crews had to finish in the top two out of five starters in their repechages at the world championships on Lake Aiguebelette to advance to Sunday’s final and keep alive their hopes of booking their boats for a start in Brazil.

However, neither crew went close to making the cut.

The men’s crew were fourth, almost 10 seconds behind second-placed New Zealand who were just behind the Netherlands.

The women were in contention at the 1000m halfway mark, but faded to come in fifth with Great Britain and Russia moving through to the final, where the top five out six are assured an Olympics berth.

Now the only chance Australia’s two big boats have of going to Rio is to be top-two at the final qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland next May.

However, Rowing Australia have indicated they won’t definitely send crews to that meet.

In other races on Wednesday, Kim Crow was dominant in the single sculls, her winning time over two seconds faster than any of the other three quarter-final winners.

Crow is aiming to win back her world title she relinquished last year and will head into Friday’s semi-finals as favourite ahead of reigning Olympic champion, Czech Mirka Knapkova.

The women’s double scull of Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey were also in solid form, winning their repechage in emphatic style as they look to add to their bronze medal from last year’s world titles.

Australia’s men’s coxless pair of Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley also advanced to the semi-finals with a composed second behind Serbia.

The Olympic hopes of Alice McNamara and Ella Flecker in the lightweight women’s double scull are all but over after they were fourth in their quarter-final.