Olympics 2016

Rowing crews cruise into semi-finals

Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe
Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe

The two Irish lightweight crews in action in the Olympic regatta in Rio today have cruised into the semi-finals of their respective events.

First up were the women's lightweight double sculls pair of Sinead Lynch and Claire Lambe. They were drawn in heat three alongside South Africa, Brazil, Cuba and Tunisia.

From from the start of the 2km race South Africa, as expected, took the initiative while the Irish girls were contesting second spot with the host nation. By the 500m marker the pattern of the race had been established.

South Africa had a three and a half second advantage over Lynch and Lambe who crucially were two second clear of Brazil – as only the first and second finishers qualified directly for Wednesday's semi-finals.

The pattern of the race didn't alter during the remaining 1500m apart from the fact that South Africa increased their lead over Ireland who in turn got comfortably clear of Brazil and Cuba.

South Africa took the heat with Ireland a very comfortable second which guaranteed them a place in the semi-finals.

Less than ten minutes later the O'Donovan brothers, Gary and Paul were in action in the men's double sculls. They started slowly in an European heat and were fourth after 500m. But they gradually increased their speed and by the 1500m mark their speed was 18kph – the fastest in the race.

Even though their semi-final place was secure by then they chased down the Italians in the final straight and won the heat to boost their prospects ahead of the semi-final.