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Page last updated at 12:58 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 13:58 UK

GB pair start season with victory

ROWING WORLD CUP I
Venue: Banyoles, Spain Dates: 29-31 May Coverage: Live on BBC Sport website (UK users only) and red button, 0925-1310 BST, Sunday 31 May; Highlights on BBC Two, 1300-1400 Monday 1 June

Pete Reed and Andy Hodge
Reed and Hodge won Olympic gold in the four in Beijing

New men's pair Pete Reed and Andy Hodge were one of five Great Britain crews to win heats on day one of the opening World Cup regatta in Banyoles, Spain.

"I think we handled ourselves well but the South Africans who won the other heat looked good," said Reed.

The women's double scull of Annabel Vernon and Anna Bebington, and the new-look men's four, qualified for Sunday's finals after winning their heats.

Sculler Alan Campbell and the men's double scull won to reach semi-finals.

New lightweight men's double Paul Mattick and Rob Williams were overhauled by Italy late in their heat but still made it to the semis.

And lightweight single sculler Adam Freeman-Pask - a late replacement after Olympic gold medallist Zac Purchase withdrew through illness - won his afternoon repechage to reach the semi-finals.

However, the new men's lightweight four and women's lightweight double must impress in repechages on Saturday if they are to reach the finals.

ROWER BETH RODFORD'S BLOG

Olympic powers Australia and Germany are absent from the first World Cup event of three this year.

None of the Olympic medallists are present in the men's pairs and the main challenge to GB looks likely to come from South Africans Shaun Keeling and Ramon di Clemente.

Reed and Hodge - who won Olympic gold in the four in Beijing - also face a semi on Saturday after taking an early lead of a length over the Czech Republic and holding on without alarm.

But Olympic bronze medallists Stephen Rowbotham and Matt Wells - in the only unchanged GB crew from Beijing - had to scrap for their victory, with less than half a length separating the top four boats.

Vernon & Bebington back together for 2009

Olympic medallists Vernon and Bebington, reunited in the double scull after three years, were challenged heavily by the Italian duo but held their lead.

Katie Greves and Beth Rodford stayed in contention with the leading boats throughout to take third place but must now race in Saturday's repechages.

The four GB women will race together as a quadruple scull in Sunday's final.

The men's four of Matt Langridge, newcomer Alex Gregory, Rick Egington and Alex Partridge looked smooth as they won their heat in six minutes 0.25 seconds, ahead of Spain.

Campbell faced more opposition from American Warren Anderson than his fellow Olympic finalist Lassi Karonen of Sweden as he secured victory.

Olympic champion Olaf Tufte and silver medallist Ondrej Synek both won their heats, as did Belgian Tim Maeyens.

Campbell stronger for 2009 season

Campbell came fifth in Beijing despite complications from an abscess on his knee, which left him requiring last-minute surgery.

Because of low entry numbers Katherine Grainger - now in the single scull after winning Olympic silver in larger boats at the last three Games - will race in a straight final on Sunday.

Sweden's Frida Svensson will be her main rival after the late withdrawal of Olympic bronze medallist Ekaterina Karsten-Khodotovitch.



see also
Hewitt named in World Cup team
26 May 09 |  Rowing
Purchase ruled out of World Cup
18 May 09 |  Rowing
Grainger to race in single scull
29 Apr 09 |  Rowing
Grainger dominates at GB trials
13 Apr 09 |  Rowing
British four win thrilling gold
16 Aug 08 |  Rowing
Rowing weight classes explained
30 May 08 |  Rowing
Rowing boat classes explained
30 May 08 |  Rowing
Power to your pull, with Andy Hodge
06 Jun 08 |  Rowing
Rowing on the BBC
07 May 08 |  Rowing
Find out where to start rowing
19 Oct 05 |  Rowing


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