SA pair aims to go for finals

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

A bit of coordination and much concentration could be enough for the South African rowing team of Shaun Keeling and Ramon di Clemente to win the semifinal event in the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday.

The pair secured the semifinal berth on the first day of the Olympics on Saturday when they finished second behind Australia.

Keeling and Di Clemente took the lead over the first 500m but were caught by the Australians who then led throughout the 1500m heat.

The South Africans covered the distance in a time of 6min:45,26sec, the third fastest time on the day. Australia, on the other hand, clocked 6:41,15.

The Australians' display on Saturday might suggest that they can beat their South African counterparts on Wednesday, but Keeling and Di Clemente are not just ordinary rowers.

They are talented and always demonstrate sheer commitment in the game and it will will not surprise the many people who have been following them if they reach the final at the favourites' expense on Wednesday.

Team South Africa won the bronze medal in this event at the Athens Olympics in 2004 and this is enough motivation for them to do much better this time round.

Meanwhile, Rika Geyser comes up against tough competitors such as Bulgarian Ekaterina Karsten and New Zealander Emma Twigg in the quarterfinals of the women's rowing event today.

The 29-year-old goes into this event after finishing third in 8:20,26 in the single sculls event on Saturday.