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Olympics: Four Swiss boats in rowing semi-finals

The Gier brothers head for a place in the semi-finals Keystone

Switzerland has enjoyed a successful day of Olympic rowing. Markus and Michael Gier survived the elimination round in the lightweight double sculls to reach Thursday's semi-finals. In the women's semis Kim Plugge and Pia Vogel are also through.

This content was published on September 20, 2000 - 09:30

The latest results mean that Switzerland will have four boats entered in the semi-finals. Xeno Müller had already booked an automatic place in the single sculls, as had the country's quadruple sculls crew.

Plugge and Vogel put in an assured performance, recording the third fastest time in the elimination round. They won their own race with relative ease, finishing almost six seconds ahead of the Canadian crew and eight seconds ahead of the Chinese.

"We decided to attack from the start," Pia Vogel explained afterwards. But it seems the rowers themselves were surprised by the size of their lead. "I had expected a little more from the Chinese," said Kim Plugge.

The Giers had to work a little harder for their win, only edging ahead of the Greek boat in the last 500 metres. But Markus Gier insisted that he and his brother had done their homework.

"We knew that the Greeks would hold out until the 1,500 metre mark", he insisted.

Since winning Olympic gold medals in Atlanta, the brothers have struggled to rediscover their form. But Wednesday's success in the elimination round showed that they may now have got over their slump.

Their eventual three-second win over the Greek boat was in itself an indication of their improvement, following their defeat by the same pair during July's Rotsee regatta.

swissinfo with agencies

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