Zim rowers eye Rio Games spots

HARARE - Zimbabwe top rowing athletes Micheen Thornycroft and Peter Percill-Gilpin are gunning for Olympic Games qualification at the World Championships in Aiguebelette, France.

Thornycroft is set to compete in the women’s single sculls event while Gilpin will compete in the men’s single sculls category both with a view of booking places among the top 129 athletes for next year’s Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympic Games.

The tournament which started on August 30, is scheduled to run until Sunday. Zimbabwe Rowing Association president Miles Trustham said he expects the best performance from the country’s top athletes.

“We are lucky to have such athletes who are among the world’s best and it is my hope that they will bring some medals and raise the country’s flag,” Trustham said.

“The 2015 World Rowing Championships also act as the main qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games so athletes will not only be racing for World Championship titles, but also for the coveted 129 qualification spots for the Rio Olympics Game.”

Trustham revealed that Thornycroft will be up against some of the world’s best rowers such as Olympic Champion Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic.

The leading Zimbabwe female rower’s progression criteria was that she had to come in the top three in her heat to progress straight through to the quarter-final stage.

She raced a very good heat, coming in 3rd with her second best ever time of 7.33.520.

Her quarter-final race is on this afternoon where she will have to be placed in the first three to progress through to the A/B semi-finals.

Coming 4th, 5th or 6th in the quarter-final will place her into the C/D semi-final races.

Meanwhile, Gilpin went through to the repechage events after he placed fifth in his heat on Sunday and on Monday, he came third and will be rowing again this morning.

In today’s race Gilpin would need to finish in the top three in order to progress to the F/G semi-final stage.

Gilpin’s time of 7.20.710 was not good enough to get him through to the quarter-finals of the men’s singles event.

This years’ championships attracted a record number of entries, 1 300 athletes from 77 countries will be lining up to race at this year’s most prestigious rowing event.

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