IN TOUGH conditions at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Team GB’s rowers had a disappointing day at the races on Wednesday, July 28, with Olympic dreams now over for many athletes.
These included Gosport and Fareham based Becky Muzerie, as her Women’s Eights team failed to qualify for the gold medal finals to be held later this week.
But it was a valiant effort, with the girls shaving 20 seconds off the ‘heat time’ and arguably being the most improved nation over their races, not bad for a team that only started full time training in February and featured Olympic debutantes including Muzerie.
Saturday saw the newly founded rowing eights finish fourth of the overall heat one standings below New Zealand, Canada and China, their time of 6 mins 26 seconds falling 19 seconds behind top spot. Instead, the team qualified for the Repechage stage that was held this morning at 4.40am. It allowed teams to get a second chance at reaching the rowing competition final, with five countries participating and fourth place or above being enough to qualify for Friday morning’s event.
In the build up to this morning’s Repechage the women’s eight side recieved messages of good luck from many Gosport and Fareham residents, which included staff from Crofton School and Bay House, where Becky Mezurie was educated. But sadly at 4.48am on Wednesday, Team GB’s women’s eights team were out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics despite a stirring improvement from their first race.
A time of 6 minutes 5 seconds on the tough course was nearly 22 seconds faster than Saturday’s debut but not enough to reach the gold medal final as Team GB came fifth – eight seconds behind fourth place Australia who shaved 14 seconds off their heat timings and only 12 seconds behind top placed Romania.
The other two sides to qualify for the final event were Canada and China, who took second and third place in the single Repechage. All these sides will join New Zealand and USA (qualifying through the weekend heats) whilst Great Britain come bottom of the seven sides to feature in the women’s eight competition, a disappointing result after huge successes in Rio and London under different participants.
It means that Becky Muzerie and her fellow seven teammates will return home by the end of this week, competition rules on Covid-19 require athletes to leave the Olympic village within 48 hours of their elimination. It comes after just 15 days of training in Tokyo, arriving on July 13 under quarantine regulations, although the whole team can be proud of their efforts and will have learned lessons for the 2024 events due to be held in Paris.
Despite disappointment for Team GB rowers this time around, it hasn’t been all bad for our nation after five days of sporting action. At the time of writing (Wednesday evening) Great Britain are sitting sixth in the medal table with five golds, six silvers and five bronzes; their total of 16 medals the best start ever in an away Olympics.
Highlights include Tom Daley’s victory in the three metre diving with partner Matty Lee on Monday morning, whilst hopes are high in velodrome cycling, athletics and swimming events upon their return later this week.
Readers can keep updated with the action via the BBC and Eurosport with live coverage including an updated medals table after each event, whilst a highlights programme airs every night during the two-week event finishing on August 8.