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Three Swiss crews to contest rowing finals

Gier and Lätt were unable to follow up on their World Cup success

(Keystone)

Switzerland will have just three boats in medal contention this weekend when the prestigious world championships reach their climax in Lucerne.

Friday's semi-final action brought disappointment for the remaining Swiss crews looking to join Xeno Müller , Pia Vogel and the pairing of Caroline Lüthi and Bernadette Wicki in the weekend's showdown.

After clinching the World Cup title earlier this season in the men's lightweight double sculls, Markus Gier and Nicholas Lätt were unable to carry their success into the Lucerne event. In a highly competitive heat, the Swiss pair came last despite finishing less than seven seconds behind the race winners, Olympic and double world champions Poland.

Sydney bronze medallists France finished second with Denmark grabbing the last of the three final berths. Munich World Cup winners Germany took first place in the second semi-final heat ahead of Sydney silver medallists Italy and Japan.

In the women's lightweight double sculls, Lea Fluri and Jane Bogorad saw their impressive showing this week come to an end with a fifth place finish in the semis. The young pair finished more than 11 seconds behind the top three of Poland, Great Britain and Canada.

In the preceding semi-final heat, Sydney silver medallist Claudia Blasberg and her new partner Janet Radünzel narrowly beat the Olympic champions Romania into second place, with third-placed Holland also securing a place in Sunday's final.

Hopes of a late Swiss flourish in the men's lightweight fours faded fast with Benedikt Schmidt, Frédéric Hanselmann, Stefan Steiner and Mathias Binder spending their entire heat in a battle with Poland to avoid last place. The Swiss four finally pulled ahead of the Poles to take fifth place, but were unable to challenge the top three, led by Olympic champions France.

In the other heat, World Cup holders Denmark finished narrowly ahead of Austria and the Netherlands, with all three going through to Sunday's finals.

by Mark Ledsom, Lucerne


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