Rio 2016: ‘Worst conditions I’ve raced in’ as rowers round on regatta venue

Rowers from Great Britain dump water out of their boat after a practice session at the rowing venue in Lagoa at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Rowers from Great Britain dump water out of their boat after a practice session at the rowing venue in Lagoa at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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The second day of rowing at Rio 2016 was postponed due to the wind whipping across the Lagoa.

The Olympic regatta got off to a testing start on Saturday, with athletes leaving the water complaining about being made to race in windy conditions.

Great Britain’s Katherine Grainger called it the worst Olympic rowing conditions she had faced, underlined by the Serbian men’s pair capsizing in the Lagoa in the heat before.

The International Rowing Federation (FISA) warned worse weather was forecast in the coming days and its prediction proved accurate yesterday morning.

An initial hour delay to the start was pinned on the weather creating issues with the Albano buoy system, which marks the race course.

Racing was subsequently put back a further hour, before it emanated at 10:17am local time – 13 minutes before the new scheduled start – that the competition was postponed due to the weather.

‘All races cancelled for today’ read the big screen at the Lagoa, but that sign was taken down before most spectators had seen it.

Grainger said: “We were sitting at the start and were delayed by 15 minutes already, then delayed again because they said there was a technical fault in the finish area. We didn’t know until afterwards that it was because someone had fallen in.

“We were aware from the warm-up how rough it was and how dangerous that is in those racing boats.

“But it is very, very much what we’ve talked about in practice – staying in the moment and the stroke you’re on and not trying to predict what might happen further down the course.

“I don’t know if it’s the absolute worst but it’s probably the worst Olympic conditions I’ve ever raced in.”

Alan Campbell, the first British rower in action, may have won his men’s single sculls heat but compared it to a coastal row he did in Northern Ireland.

“The wind comes down from the mountain,” he said before pointing to the statue in the backdrop. “Christ the Redeemer needs to spread his arms out a little more.”

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