Former SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Murray Stewart has combined with his kayak team of Tate Smith, Dave Smith and Jacob Clear to win gold in the K4 1000m event at Eton Dorney, London.
Stewart, a University of Sydney graduate, and his team weren’t distracted by a false start by their Hungarian rivals to start the race well and maintain their lead throughout before powering away near the finishing line to win clearly.
Roared on by a huge Hungarian contingent on the banks, the eight kayaks came through the last 100 metres with bodies straining forward, arms whirling, legs driving and water splashing everywhere as Australia prevailed.
The win was especially important for Stewart, who had dominated the Australian championships, qualifying for four boats and finishing second in four, but had struggled earlier in the week in the K1 1000, where he missed out on making the final.
“We knew if we could get a good start we had a really good chance,” Stewart told news.com.au.
“It’s definitely been the best bit of our race, the first 500m. So we just executed the game plan and came up with gold.”
Despite sporting a gold medal around his neck and the satisfaction of knowing that he is an Olympic champion, Stewart’s 2012 London Games campaign isn’t over.
Tonight he will compete in the K1 200m event, where his confidence will be at an all time high.
Former Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames representative Belinda Snell and the Australian women’s team will play-off for Bronze in London after a narrow 86-73 loss to the USA in their semi-final this morning.
The Opals pushed the reigning gold medallists (now on a 40 game Olympic winning streak) all the way, shocking the favourites to lead at half time, but were overrun late by their star-studded opponents.
The focus for Snell and her team will now turn to the bronze medal match where the Australians will face Russia on Sunday morning.
The Australian men’s hockey team, featuring University of Sydney graduate Matthew Butturini, will face Great Britain in the bronze medal match after being defeated by the world’s number two team, Germany, 4-2 in their semi-final overnight.
The Kookaburras appeared to be cruising at 2-1 up early in the second half, but Germany powered back – equalising off a midfield turnover – and then overrunning the Kookaburras with late goals to post a deserved win.
Friday 10 August
Kayak Sprint – Men’s K1 200m Heats
Kayak Sprint – Men’s K1 200m Semi-final
Murray Stewart (provided he qualifies from his Heat)
Hockey – Women v China Classification 5-6
Sailing – Women’s Elliot 6m Semi-Final (might be subject to change because sailing had to be postponed yesterday because of poor sailing weather)
Saturday 11 August
Water Polo – Men v Hungary Classification Semi-Final 5-8
Thomas Whalan & Sam McGregor
Diving – Men’s 10m Platform Heats
Modern Pentathlon – Men’s Fencing
Kayak Sprint – Men’s K1 200m Final
Murray Stewart (provided he qualifies from his Semi-final)
Diving – Men’s 10m Platform Semi-final
Matthew Mitcham (provided he qualifies from his Heat)
Sailing – Women’s Elliot 6m Bronze Final
Olivia Price (if she loses her Semi-final)
Sailing – Women’s Elliot 6m Final
Olivia Price (provided she qualifies from her Semi-final)
Modern Pentathlon – Men’s Swimming
Sunday 12 August
Modern Pentathlon – Men’s Riding
Hockey – Men v Great Britain Bronze Final
Basketball – Women v Russia Bronze Final
Modern Pentathlon – Men’s Combined Event (Running & Shooting)
Diving – Men’s 10m Platform Final
Matthew Mitcham (provided he qualifies from his Semi-final)
Water Polo – Men’s Classification 7-8
Thomas Whalan & Sam McGregor (if they lose their Semi-final 5-8)
Water Polo – Men’s Classification 5-6
Thomas Whalan & Sam McGregor (provided they win their Semi-final 5-8)