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Australia hopeful of rowing eights in Rio

26 November 2015

ROWING: Australia's two big boats have raced at every Olympics since 1952 and hopes are high this streak will be extended to the rowing regatta in Rio next year.

The men's and women's eights failed to qualify through the world championships in France in early September, finishing ranked ninth and eighth overall with only the top five booking Olympic berths.

They must now impress Australian rowing selectors and prove the crews worthy of sending to the last Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, next May where they must finish top two.

National team performance director Chris O'Brien said rowers from the eights had been working hard to firstly hold their place in the boat, and also earn another chance to push for qualification.

The women's pair and lightweight double scull are in the same predicament.

The Olympic hopefuls, as well as those from the seven boats already qualified, have been participating in training camps around the country and will tackle time trials and head-to-head racing early next month.

"They have taken a step forward that's for sure," O'Brien said.

"Across the board it's been pleasing to see people are stepping up and heeding the messages about what we need to do to qualify these boats.

"If we think in February that they are at qualifying standard than we will put them forward for the qualification regatta."

Selection for the seven boats already qualified remain open, with other rowers able to force their way in through Olympic trials in February.

"If we believe we can improve those boats we certainly will," O'Brien said.

"Our three medal boats in Olympic class have set a good benchmark but we're looking to see whether we can win gold medals so there may be changes if we think we can improve it."



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