Aust rowers book Rio berths

Three Australian crews have secured Rio Olympic berths after qualifying for finals at the world rowing championships in Aiguebelette, France.

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The men’s pair, men’s four and men’s quad scull all finished second in their semi-finals which in turn ensured that they have qualified their boat to race in Rio next year.

On a successful day, the Australian contingent also won two gold para-rowing medals.

Arms and shoulders single sculler Erik Horrie as well as Kathryn Ross and Gavin Bellis, in the trunk and arms mixed double scull were crowned world champions for a third successive year.

They also booked berths for their boats at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.

It’s unbelievable to win a third world rowing championship title,” Horrie said.

“It’s certainly not something I imagined doing when I first started rowing almost five years ago now.”

The men’s pair of Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley finished behind the Brits but managed to hold off the Dutch crew to set up a medal chance in the final on Sunday.

The men’s four of Will Lockwood, Joshua Dunkley-Smith, Spencer Turrin and Alex Hill led at the halfway mark but the Dutch upped the ante in the closing stages to win their semi.

Four crews tussled to the finish in the men’s quad scull with Lithuania just pipping the Australian crew of David Crawshay, Karsten Forsterling, Cameron Girdletone and David Watts.

Forsterling, who won bronze in the same boat at the London Olympics in 2012, said he was pleased the crew delivered under pressure.

“We’re really pleased to get through to the final and then to book a place for Rio is a relief to have that out the way,” Fosterling said.

Australia’s men’s double scull crew also moved into the semi-finals, while the lightweight men’s pair is into the A final.