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Rebecca Shorten vows to help Team GB repeat improved display in Olympic rowing final


Medal hope: Rebecca Shorten (right) in the GB Women’s Fours. Credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Medal hope: Rebecca Shorten (right) in the GB Women’s Fours. Credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Getty Images

Medal hope: Rebecca Shorten (right) in the GB Women’s Fours. Credit: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Team GB’s women’s four are a force to be reckoned with in the Olympic final after successfully coming through the repechage, according to Rebecca Shorten.

While the heats saw the quartet of Belfast rower Shorten, Rowan McKellar, Karen Bennett and Harriet Taylor miss out on an automatic place in the final, they responded with a much more convincing performance in yesterday’s repechage.

Victory in a time of 6:46.20, 0.37s ahead of Poland in second, was exactly what the doctor ordered, providing a boost of confidence as they head into the A final — now scheduled for Wednesday as expected adverse weather has caused the rowing to be cancelled at the start of the week.

And Shorten claims the struggles they endured in the first race of Tokyo 2020 could yet prove to be a blessing in disguise.

“I think coming through the repechage could definitely be a good thing,” she said. “We’ve not had many races this year at all and we’ve done it before — we always learn after each rep.

“If we had come out on top the other day, we wouldn’t have learned what we did, so having today’s race, we can go into the final and do that again.

“The heats wasn’t really us — we were just a bit short and not ourselves. This race was definitely more us and we’ll bring that again in the final.”

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While Shorten can look forward to an Olympic final, there was heartbreak for another Northern Irish rower at the Games — Coleraine’s Hannah Scott.

Scott failed to make the women’s quad sculls final in Tokyo as the boat finished fourth in the repechage in a time of 6:42.97.

Racing alongside Lucy Glover and sisters Charlotte and Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Scott’s crew came home 5.22 seconds shy of the top-two position needed to reach the medal race and now face a B final for the minor positions.

Scott said: “I’m pretty gutted. That wasn’t the result we wanted and it’s not that we didn’t have it in us, there were just a few hiccups along the start and then that didn’t set us off to the best start.

“It’s the Olympics — the one thing I’ve learned is that there’s only seconds in it. You can’t afford to make a mistake and ours came at the wrong time.

“In the Olympics, it’s seconds and one mistake is all it takes.”

In Tokyo Aquatic Centre, Larne swimmer Danielle Hill was over half a second outside her qualification time as she clocked 1:00.86 to finish third in her 100m Backstroke heat which was not enough to progress to the semi-finals.

Facing a challenging preparation into the Games itself, Danielle was unable to travel to the Hamamatsu training camp with the remainder of the team for medical reasons and her performance is very pleasing considering her arrival into Tokyo was not as smooth as originally planned.

She said: “I’m a little disappointed with how it went, I would have liked to perform a little bit better, especially given that it is an evening swim but, at the same time, I’m proud to put the Irish hat on and represent Larne as well.

“I think I was a little bit scared to attack it if I’m being brutally honest, I should have gone out and attacked it but that’s what I’ve got to learn and the only way I’m going to learn it is by doing it wrong.”

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