No second chance? Chris Perry hopes for better weather after rowing races are cancelled

If windy conditions continue organisers may scrap the rêpechage, putting pressure on Hong Kong crews in the heats

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 August, 2016, 11:46pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 August, 2016, 4:03pm

Hong Kong coach Chris Perry fears for his crews’ chances at the Rio Olympics rowing competition after organisers cancelled all of Sunday’s races because of bad weather.

At 10.20am (9.20pm Saturday HK time), governing body Fisa decided to cancel the day’s rowing because of high winds, one day after the Serbian men’s pair fell into the Lagoa Lake’s waters.

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Hong Kong’s men’s and women’s lightweight double sculls heats are rescheduled for Monday, but Perry is worried that more bad weather will force organisers to cut races.

“As time runs out, we must get through the eliminators,” said Perry. “There are various options they have and one of them is cancelling the rêpechage rounds. That would be a disadvantage to us because we are not one of the seeded teams and if we can’t get into the top two, we won’t get a second chance.”

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The Hong Kong women’s team of Lee Yuen-yin and Lee Ka-man take on Germany, Poland, Chile and Canada in heat 4 while Chiu Hin-chun and Tang Chiu-mang, in the men’s doubles, face United States, Norway, Chile and Austria in heat 2.

The top two crews in each of the four heats enter the semi-finals and Perry knows it will be difficult for his teams to overcome their seeded rivals. That would still give them a chance of progressing through the rêpechage but even this is threatened by further bad weather.

Perry, though, backed the organisers’ decision to stop rowing.

“We arrived and it was already windy,” he said. “It got worse and it was postponed for an hour and then postpone for two hours. But the wind started to blow stronger and it was completely unrowable.”

He said the Hong Kong teams simply had to stay patient.

“There is nothing we can do about it. We’ll just train on the machine and the bikes and just relax.”

In the 1896 Athens Games, the entire rowing programme was cancelled because of bad weather, according to Britain’s five-time gold medallist Steve Redgrave in the BBC.

The rowing venue is about one hour’s drive from Olympic Park and is central Rio where most of the venues are located.