Days 7, 8 and 9 Olympic review: Pratley takes rowing silver
6 August 2012
Andrew Tilley from Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) reports on the second weekend of competition at the London 2012 Olympics. University of Sydney Olympians have already notched up three medals between them after graduate rower Brooke Pratley won silver in the women's double sculls final, adding to silver for kayaker Jessica Fox and bronze for track cyclist Kaarle McCulloch.
As the Olympic rowing regatta headed into its final days of competition, graduate and former SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Brooke Pratley and her partner Kim Crow won silver in the women's double sculls final on Friday.
In only their second international regatta, and just their sixth row together, Pratley and Crow secured silver behind the heavily favoured British duo of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, a tight-knit team for three years who had been unbeaten over their previous 24 races.
The Australians' silver was all the more impressive because a rib injury to Pratley in April had sidelined her until just eight weeks ago, while the University of Melbourne's Crow was also taking part in the women's single sculls (winning bronze for Australia in the final race of the Olympics regatta on Saturday).
With her medal hung around her neck, the 32-year-old Pratley, who started rowing 11 years ago in her final year of studying physiotherapy at the University of Sydney, quietly announced her retirement.
"I'm just so proud, not just of what we've achieved but how we've conducted ourselves throughout the season and how we pushed on through me having significant injuries and Kim managing two boats," Pratley told Ninemsn.
"It really has just been a dream run."
Two other University of Sydney rowers were in finals over the weekend - Brodie Buckland and Bronwen Watson.
Buckland, a Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) representative, led Australia to a fifth-place finish in the men's pair on Friday at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre to the west of London.
Buckland and his partner James Marburg crossed the finish line in 6:29.28. The New Zealand pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won the gold medal in 6:16.25, with France and Great Britain taking silver and bronze respectively.
University of Sydney graduate and former SUSF EAP scholarship holder Bronwen Watson and her partner Hannah Every-Hall finished a gallant fifth in the women's lightweight double sculls final behind the Great Britain gold medallists.
Australia's Women's Match Racing sailing crew of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty finished the round robin with a perfect 11 wins from 11 starts following a final win against Portugal.
Skipper Price, a University of Sydney student and SUSF EAP scholarship holder, and her crew mates controlled the race against the Portuguese from start to finish, eventually crossing the line five seconds clear.
The Australian trio has had an amazing start to the regatta and will take on the Netherlands in Tuesday's quarter-final after finishing top of the round robin.
"Today was just another day for us," said Price. "We went out there just trying to win the one race that we had and we did it, ticked that and the whole regatta starts again in two days time."
However, the Olympic campaign of fellow University of Sydney sailor Krystal Weir is over after she narrowly missed out on the medal races.
The SUSF EAP scholarship holder finished 12th overall in the Laser Radial class, with only the top 10 qualifying for the medal races.
Weir started the regatta slowly before storming home with a series of excellent races.
"I think I was just really uptight on the first few days and it took a lot for me to be free and just let the boat sail rather than forcing it," said Weir.
"In the second half of the event I was back to my old self but you can lose it on day one for sure and that's what happened."
The Australian women's basketball team have set up a quarter-final encounter against China after two solid victories over the weekend.
Former Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames representative Belinda Snell scored seven points in the Opals 70-66 win over Russia, before she sunk 12 more points as the Opals disposed of Canada 72-63 on Sunday.
The Australian men's hockey team continued their undefeated streak with a 2-2 draw against Argentina, including a third goal of the tournament for University of Sydney graduate Matthew Butturini, and a 3-3 draw against Great Britain.
The Kookaburras sit on top of Pool A with two wins, two draws and a healthy goal difference. They need only a draw against Pakistan in their final group game on Tuesday to guarantee a top-two spot and a semi-final place.
The Australian women's hockey team, containing University of Sydney graduate and SUSF EAP scholarship holder Megan Rivers, are in a four-way battle for the top two places in their qualifying group.
The Hockeyroos must beat world number-two Argentina in their final Pool B match on Monday to guarantee a semi-final spot following a 1-0 victory over South Africa on Saturday. Argentina, New Zealand and Australia all have three wins each - and the Hockeyroos are currently lowest of the trio on goal difference.
Despite an 11-6 loss to Croatia on Saturday, Australia's hopes of progressing through to the quarter-finals of the men's water polo competition are still alive.
The Sharks, including University of Sydney representatives Thomas Whalan and Sam McGregor, will battle Greece on Monday for the last remaining quarter-final berth in group A.
Australia drew with Greece when they met just prior to the Olympics in a warm-up match, and former SUSF EAP scholarship holder Thomas Whalan - who opened his London Olympics account with a hat-trick against Croatia - is adamant the Sharks aren't done with yet.
"Greece is going to be a big game," Whalan told Ninemsn. "It's our quarter-final ticket. We're certainly not lying down at all."
See our schedule of events to find out which University of Sydney Olympians are competing during the final week of London 2012.
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Enquiries: Andrew Tilley, Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness, 9351 8116, firstname.lastname@example.org