Phw-oar! Twickenham’s John Collins ecstatic with semi-final performance in men’s double sculls

Twickenham’s John Collins and teammate John Walton rowed ‘the race of their lives’ to reach the final of the men’s double sculls on Thursday.

The British double came third in a close-fought semi final, racing a strong Norwegian crew, reigning Olympic champions New Zealand and the undefeated Sinković brothers from Croatia.

Though the world record-holding Croatians remain favourites for the gold, the British pair were ecstatic with their performance and are confident about their chances.

“If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I will die happy. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted. A chance to race for that gold medal, that’s all I’ve ever wanted in life, said Collins.

“I always believed we could [reach the final] but it was very close… there was never a point where I thought ‘we’ve got this’.”

A nervous restart due to ‘wrong alignments’ acted as a prelude to a dramatic race.

Though the Croatian boat took an early lead by half a length at 500m, Norway and Britain remained in close pursuit in second and third positions respectively.

“If they can make the final from this semi, they are in for a shot for a medal,” said former Olympic champion James Cracknell at the halfway point.

“If they don’t treat it like their Olympic final they won’t be in the Olympic final.”

Despite a push from New Zealand around the 1,000m mark, they lacked the strength and endurance to break into the top three.

In the third 500m, Collins and Walton launched a challenge on the Norwegians and Croatian double, moving into a close second place.

The Sinković brothers held strong in the final sprint, however, and Norway caught the British double just before the line.

The second semi-final was less hotly-contested and the British duo will enter the final with the confidence that they can win a medal.

Great Britain will race Croatia, Norway, Lithuania, Italy and France in the double sculls final on Thursday, August 11 at 2.24pm.

Related Articles