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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 August, 2004, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
British four reach semis
Britain's coxless fours
Pinsent gives the thumbs up as his crew goes through
Great Britain's rowing quartet battled hard to qualify for the semi-final of the men's coxless fours.

The team of Matthew Pinsent, James Cracknell, Ed Coode and Steve Williams led from the start and fended off the Italian challenge to win their heat.

Meanwhile, fellow Britons Cath Bishop and Katherine Grainger will have to qualify for the final of the coxless pairs the hard way.

They came second in their heat and will now go into Monday's repechage.

Our opposition don't know how good we are
Matthew Pinsent

The world champions, watched by Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie at rowing's Schinias Centre, finished behind the pair from Belarus.

There was better news for Matthew Wells and Matthew Langridge, who took second place to reach the semi-finals of the men's double sculls.

Elsewhere, Briton Ian Lawson is in the men's single sculls repechage after coming second in his heat.

Lawson finished in a time of seven minutes 24.01 seconds, behind winner and current world champion Olaf Tufte of Norway, who clocked 7:12:53.

The British duo of Sarah Winckless and Elise Laverick will also have to compete in a repechage race in order to qualify for the women's double sculls final.

Winckless and Laverick finished behind the outstanding New Zealand sisters, Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell.

Britons Cath Bishop (left) and Katherine Grainger
Bishop (left) and Grainger found the going tough

Meanwhile, there was a freak incident involving the New Zealand coxless pair of Juliette Haigh and Nicky Coles.

The rowers hit a buoy on the course forcing them into the water.

The duo finished, but almost two minutes behind the rest of the field.

After his race, Pinsent said he was delighted with the performance of the coxless four team.

"We've opened our campaign in good style. At the moment our opposition don't know how good we are." said Pinsent, searching for his fourth gold.

"We were confident coming into the regatta and today has added to that.

"After the summer we have had, we would be happy to win one on one against anybody."

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