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Olympics-Rowing-Netherlands, China win in world best times in speedy day of competition

·2-min read
Rowing - Women's Double Sculls - Final A

By Amy Tennery

TOKYO (Reuters) -The Netherlands and China posted world best times to win gold in the men's and women's quad sculls races as Olympic rowing roared back into action at Tokyo's Sea Forest Waterway on Wednesday.

China clinched the women's quad sculls in 6:05.13, more than six seconds ahead of silver medallists Poland and bronze winners Australia.

On the men's side, the Netherlands won gold - one of four medals they picked up during the day's competition - in 5:32.03, 1.72 seconds ahead of Britain's crew, with Australia claiming bronze.

The races kicked off on Wednesday in hot and windy conditions, after organisers suspended competition for two days due to adverse weather forecasts.

"We knew that the wind was going to be difficult and that the crosswind was going to have some very difficult conditions in the first part," said Dutch quad sculls team member Lucas Theodoor Dirk Uittenbogaard.

"We had to stay cool, stay relaxed, and focus on the good rowing."

The first two rowing medal races of the Tokyo Games delivered thrills as Romania's Ancuta Bodnar and Simona Radis won gold in the women's double sculls while Hugo Boucheron and Matthieu Androdias of France triumphed in the men's event, both with Olympic-best times.

Brooke Donoghue and Hannah Osborne of New Zealand picked up silver in the women's event and the Netherlands' Roos de Jong and Lisa Scheenaard earned bronze.

Melvin Twellaar and Stef Broenink of the Netherlands claimed silver in the men's competition, and China's Liu Zhiyu and Zhang Liang took the bronze medal.

A rematch of the 2019 World Championship race between Australia and the Netherlands in the women’s four did not disappoint, as Australia once again came out on top - this time, in a scorching 6:15.37 - and the Dutch took silver.

Ireland propelled past Britain in the last quarter of the race, securing bronze for their second-ever Olympic rowing medal.

They have a shot at gold in the lightweight men's double sculls after Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy won their semi-final in a world best 6:05.33.

It was not the only heartbreak Britain endured on the water on Wednesday as their golden run in the men’s four came to an abrupt halt.

The Britons, who topped the podium at the previous five Games, veered out of their lane down the final stretch and finished fourth, with Australia clinching gold in an Olympic best 5:42.76 ahead of Romania and Italy.

"It's obviously devastating," said Matthew Rossiter, 31, who helped Britain win the European Championship earlier this year. "It’s probably one of the hardest things we’ve had to swallow in our rowing careers."

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Tokyo; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell & Shri Navaratnam)

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