Australia Aust rowers gunning for rare medal double

21:42  22 july  2021
21:42  22 july  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Rowers Annabelle McIntyre and Jessica Morrison are turning to Australia's greatest female rower, Kim Brennan, as they take on the rare challenge of dual Olympic events in Tokyo.

a group of people posing for the camera: Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre (l) will be competing at two Olympic rowing events. © AP PHOTO Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre (l) will be competing at two Olympic rowing events.

The rowers will line up in the pair and also in the women's four, which is returning to the Olympic program after being cut following the Barcelona Games in 1992.

Brennan captured Australia's only rowing gold medal in Rio in the single sculls, but four years earlier in London, she pulled off the stunning feat of medalling in two events at the same Games.

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She won bronze in the single sculls and also silver in the women's double sculls, partnering with Brooke Pratley.

McIntyre is making her Olympic debut and will be thrown in the deep end with the heats two hours apart on day two of racing at the Sea Forest Waterway course on Saturday.

The 24-year-old said she and Morrison, who rowed in the eight at Rio, were treating both boats equally, with both strong medal chances.

At the last world championships, in 2019, the Australian duo finished second behind Kiwi pair Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler.

The Australian women's four won that world title, although only Lucy Stephan remains from that crew with the other three rowers moving to the eight.

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Rosie Popa is the other rower in the four in Tokyo.

"There's definitely no priority boat for us," McIntyre told AAP.

"Our teammates are putting a lot of trust in us to be able to perform in both boat classes.

"Because we haven't been able to race overseas this year we've had three replication regattas, where we've been able to practise the timing and the recovery between races and backing up."

McIntyre said that she and Morrison had spoken with the now-retired Brennan, and also her husband Scott Brennan, who won gold in the men's double in Beijing, about how to manage the workload.

"Jess has quite a personal relationship with Kim and Scott - she got to know them when she was a swimmer before switching over to rowing," McIntyre said.

"We've been quite lucky to have tutelage from both of them in relation to the double-up, and also how to approach the Games."

McIntyre said the New Zealanders were still the team to beat in the pair but added Canada were also among the favourites.

She said that Australia's female crews were all genuine medal hopes in Tokyo.

"Coming back from COVID you could see that everyone had really knuckled down and done all of the training that was required to perform at the Games, even when we didn't know if it was going ahead," the West Australian said.

"From there, training day in and day out with all of these girls, you can see how much desperation is there to perform, so there is definitely medal opportunities there for everyone."

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