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Olympics: Flying start for rowing champ Müller

Müller takes the strain but eases into the semi-finals Keystone

The Swiss rower Xeno Müller made a flying start in the single sculls, as he began his defence of the gold medal which he won at the Atlanta Games.

The California-based rower finished the first heat more than three lengths ahead of his competitors, automatically securing himself a place in Thursday’s semi-finals.

Müller said he was happy with his time after rowing the 2,000-metre course in just under seven minutes. New Zealand’s Rob Waddell, probably Müller’s greatest rival, was the only other rower to beat the seven-minute mark, the world champion winning his heat three seconds quicker than Müller.

“I wanted to put down a good time and make sure that my section times were good too,” Müller said after the race. “Physically I’m feeling great, and it was important to row hard in preparation for the semi-finals.”

In the women’s double sculls, Switzerland’s Caroline Lüthi and Bernadette Wicki found the competition a little harder. The Swiss pair finished fourth in their heat, trailing the teams from Romania, Lithuania and France.

On Tuesday, Lüthi and Wicki will have a second chance to qualify for the finals, when they are reunited with Lithuania and France in a second qualifying round. In the overall medal stakes, the German and Romanian boats are clear favourites for gold and silver, but it’s thought that any of the other finalists could have a chance to win the bronze.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR