Local Rower Goes for Gold

Brentford based Annie Vernon in final this Sunday

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Sunday's women's quadruple sculls final will have a special local interest in the shape of locally based Annie Vernon, the youngest member of the Team GB boat.

The four strong crew will be going for the first women's gold medal ever in rowing and after an impressive performance in the heats earlier this week they appear to have a good chance being second fastest in qualifying.

With just one guaranteed place available in Sunday's finals the tension at the start of the heat was palpable as Great Britain and Germany lined up next to each other. Of the two, Great Britain probably took the better start and were ahead by a canvas at 250m. Sculling long and strong they pulled out to more than a second lead at 500m. With the race tracked by a battalion of anxious coaches cycling along the towpath from a variety of nations, the gap was virtually the same at the halfway mark with Katherine Grainger, Fran Houghton, Debbie Flood and Annie Vernon still looking in control. Before the 1500m mark Germany made a push and drew back to half a length but GB responded. Reaching the grandstands, under darkening and rain-filled skies, the British upped their rate and kept their length. Germany came back at them and the gap closed but the British crew had enough left to record a winning time of 6:13.70. The Germans have won the gold medal in this event at the last four Olympics and this was the first time they had ever lost an Olympic race.

25 year old Annie who lives in Brentford and rows for the Marlow club is already a World U23 bronze medallist. The Germans qualified for the final and will provide stiff opposition as well as the Chinese who qualified fastest. Australia, USA and the Ukraine make up the rest of the field.

September 11, 2008