Portugal was a surprise…
Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x) - Semifinals
Coming into this qualification regatta New Zealand’s Storm Uru and Peter Taylor looked to be the crew to beat. They had finished second at the Lucerne Rowing World Cup proving their boat speed against the best in the world. Today they took over in the lead of semifinal one and were dominating the race even before they hit the first 500m mark. This left the rest of the field to fight for the remaining two spots that would mean advancement to the final. All remaining five boats were close to each other.
By the half-way point Spain’s Jesus Gonzalez Alvarez and Juan Zunzunegui Guimerans had moved into second with Slovenia following in third and Portugal now back a bit in fourth. Coming into the final sprint Uru and Taylor looked comfortable at a steady 36 stroke rate that they had maintained down the course. Then Portugal’s Pedro Fraga Nuno Mendes charged. Rating 39 the Portuguese had closed on Slovenia and were coming after Spain. At the line Slovenia had missed out. New Zealand, Portugal and Spain earn the vital A-Final spots.
Juan Zunzunegui Guimerans, ESP
“Portugal was a surprise…on Sunday we won the heat [Portugal was fifth]. We know all six or seven teams are all close in times and we know that Portugal has a good final 500m sprint. We felt it was easier on Sunday than today. We know it is a very close race for the three spots. It is possible New Zealand will be ahead a few seconds but it will be very close racing for the rest of the field.”
World Rowing - Official Website