Brittain and Green are SA's last chance for a rowing medal

Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling during the Team SA Rowers training session at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas rowing venue on July 31, 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling during the Team SA Rowers training session at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas rowing venue on July 31, 2016 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Image: Wessel Oosthuizen/Gallo Images

Olympic silver medallist Lawrence Brittain and Jake Green in the men’s pair are South Africa’s last chance of making the podium at the rowing world championships in Plovdiv‚ Bulgaria.

The men’s four and lightweight women’s double sculls were both nudged out of medal contention in the semifinals on Thursday‚ landing in B-finals.

Brittain and Green ended third in their quarterfinal to advance to the semifinals on Friday morning when they will try to win a lane in the six-lane A-final on Saturday.

Silverware was never the main target for the largely young SA squad‚ with the focus being the three main crews proving they’re on track to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Next year’s world championships will be the main Olympic qualifier‚ where the men’s four and lightweight women’s double must finish eighth overall.

To prepare for that‚ Sandro Torrente‚ John Smith‚ Kyle Schoonbee and David Hunt (men’s four) and Kirsty McCann and Nicole van Wyk (women’s scull) will have to finish second in their B-finals on Saturday morning.

Brittain and Green must make top 11 overall‚ which equates to fifth in the B-final.

But for now the duo are still in the hunt for a medal.

“Tough‚ hard‚ good lessons for the young ones‚” said national coach Roger Barrow. “Still a lot to row for.”

Thabelo Masutha in the single scull and Vaughn Botes and Nick Oberholzer in the lightweight men’s double scull were knocked out of medal contention earlier in the week.

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