|Olympic Double Sculls Final for Leicester Rower|
A magnificent performance by Great Britain’s John Collins, and Leicester’s Jonny Walton, saw them come through in style on the Olympic Rowing Lake, Lagoa Stadium, yesterday, to book their place in the Olympic Double Sculls Final.
In a very competitive Semi-Final field, containing the reigning World Champions from Croatia, the Bronze medallists New Zealand, 5th place Australia and a fancied Norwegian double, containing the Olympic singles gold medallist from 2004 and 2008 Olaf Tufte, GB rowed a very mature race.
Croatia, as so often, hit the front early. However, the rest of the field were staying with them and pressing hard and there was nothing in it from 2nd through to 5th at halfway, only the Bulgarians had been dropped. Coming through into the 3rd 500, Collins and Walton pressed the accelerator and displayed a fantastic turn of speed. Coming from a length down on the leading Croatians, they were just a canvas down coming into the final 500, having come through the Norwegians. The rest of the field was finding the pace too hot to handle, Australia were slipping off the back, New Zealand were faltering and starting to slip backwards.
Real pressure was being applied to the Croatian double. For the last 2 years they have reigned supreme, but this was going to be a tight finish. Everyone was pushing the rate up. Through the 1750m mark and the Norwegians were coming back slightly. Up the rating went again, it was head down and blast out the last 20 strokes to the line. Just in the last 10 strokes the Norwegians got their bows in front of Collins and Walton. But John and Jonny had done enough. 3rd place, by just ½ a length to the winners from Croatia and just a couple of feet behind the Norwegians. A tremendous effort and a great result. The 2 of them will gain great confidence from this and take that into the final on Thursday.
Walton from Kirby Muxloe, Leicester, learnt to row at Leicester Rowing Club when he was 15. For a full bio, go to British Rowing - Jonny Walton