Day 7, 8 and 9 Olympic reviews: Pratley takes rowing silver

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University of Sydney athletes have now combined for a total of three medals after 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.

Pratley’s silver medal followed fellow University of Sydney athletes Jessica Fox (silver) and Kaarle McCulloch (bronze) claiming medals on Thursday.

In only their second international regatta and just their sixth row together Pratley and Crow secured silver behind the heavily favoured British duo Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, who’ve been a tight-knit team for three years and were unbeaten over their past 24 races.

Making the accomplishment more impressive is that a rib injury to Pratley in April kept her out of the boat until just eight weeks ago.

Medal hung around her neck, 32-year-old Pratley quietly announced her retirement, ending an 11-year rowing career.

“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 fellow Sydney University 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 during Friday’s at the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre outside 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. France and Great Britain finished with the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

University of Sydney graduate and former SUSF EAP scholarship holder Bronwen Watson and her partner Hannah Every-Hall were extremely gallant in the women’s lightweight double sculls final where they finished fifth 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 to top the round robin following a final race 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 quarterfinal 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.

Fellow University of Sydney sailor Krystal Weir’s Olympic campaign is over after she narrowly missed out on the medal races.

The SUSF EAP scholarship holder finished 12th overall in the Laser Radial class – the top 10 qualify 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.”

Fellow SUSF EAP scholarship holder Elizabeth Yin finished 24th in the same competition as Weir.

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.

While at the hockey arena the Australian men’s hockey team continued their undefeated streak with a 2-2 draw against Argentina and a 3-3 draw against Great Britain.

University of Sydney graduate Matthew Butturini scored his third goal of the tournament against Argentina.

They sit on top of Pool A with two wins, two draws and a healthy goal difference.

The Kookaburras 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, must beat world No.2 Argentina in their final Pool B match on Monday to guarantee a women’s hockey semi-final spot following a 1-0 victory over South Africa on Saturday.

It is now a four-way battle for the top two places in the group.

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 Games 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.

“We’re still not down and out,” Whalan told Ninemsn.

“Greece is going to be a big game; it’s our quarter-final ticket. We’re certainly not lying down at all.”

Monday 6 August

Kayak Sprint – Men’s Single Kayak (K1) 1000m Heats (Heat 3)
Murray Stewart

Kayak Sprint – Men’s Single Kayak (K1) 1000m Semi-finals
Murray Stewart (if he qualifies from his heat)

Water Polo – Men v Greece
Thomas Whalan & Sam McGregor

Tuesday 7 August  

Hockey – Women v Argentina
Megan Rivers