South west London’s Team GB Olympic athletes were out in force yesterday across rowing, hockey, windsurfing and rugby sevens in Rio.
Andrew Triggs-Hodge and Phelan Hill comfortably won their Olympic heat in the men’s eight rowing, with a time of 5:34.23, beating the Netherlands by a full length which they maintained from the halfway mark.
Molesey Boat Club’s Triggs-Hodge, two-time Olympic Champion in the men’s coxless four, is looking for further his successes in Rio 2016 accompanied by Putney’s Hill who coxed the men’s eight to a bronze in London 2012.
London Rowing Club’s Jessica Eddie and St Mary’s University alumnus Karen Bennett won their heat in the women’s eight, beating New Zealand and Canada in 6.09 minutes.
Eddie and Bennett, who helped GB win the 2016 European Championship title, will face USA in the final who are unbeaten in major championships since 2006.
Bennett said: “We just need to believe and we’ll come through.
“It’s definitely achievable and we all believe that we can do it, and that’s what you really need in a race like this.
“What better place to beat them than the Olympics to really make a statement.”
Twickenham’s John Collins progressed through to the semi-finals of the men’s double sculls from the repechage with his partner Jonny Walton.
After the disappointment of finishing last in their heat on Saturday, this win should give them the confidence to go for gold in 25-year-old Collins’ first Olympics.
In the lightweight women’s double sculls, Putney Town Rowing Club’s Charlotte Taylor finished last with her partner, reigning Olympic champion Kat Copeland.
After winning European Championship gold and World Championship silver last year, Taylor and Copeland have struggled for form this season but could still progress further through the repechage.
Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley scored the opening goal in the women’s hockey, as they beat India 3-0 in their second match of the Games.
Ansley said: “We always knew India was going to be a tough game.
“They like being in close contact so we just stayed out of range and didn’t get drawn into their sort of game.
“Six points out of six is the perfect start because every game is a tough one so grinding out the results at this stage is important.”
St Mary’s University alumnus Alice Richardson was denied a bronze medal in the women’s rugby sevens third place play-off as Team GB lost to Canada 33-10.
They were beaten in their semi-final by New Zealand 25-7 where Richardson scored a try.
Wandsworth’s Bryony Shaw is still in contention in the women’s RS:X windsurfing, placing tenth after three races.
Previously bookies’ favourite, Shaw is now 32 points behind first-placed Charline Picon of France, but 18 points outside of the medals, as she goes for her second Olympic medal after winning bronze in Beijing 2008.