Rio Olympics 2016: Helen Glover and Heather Stanning into semi-finals

Rio Olympics 2016: Britain’s defending Olympic champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning reached the semi-finals of the women’s pair in Rio with victory in their heat.

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Glover, 30, and Stanning, 31, trailed Denmark with 500m to go but finished strongly to extend their unbeaten run, which stretches back to 2011.

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Their semi-final is on Wednesday.

Earlier, Great Britain’s men’s and women’s eights and the men’s quadruple sculls team reached their respective finals.

The men’s four put in a dominant and impressive display to comfortably win their heat, while both eights teams also won their heats.

The women’s team were third at halfway but overhauled New Zealand and Canada while the men’s quad were second behind Germany in their repechage to progress.

Pete Reed, a two-time Olympic champion in the men’s four and now part of the eight, said: “It’ll be a street fight. The desire is still there, it’s burning inside.”

Polly Swann, part of the women’s eight, said: “We weren’t worried that we were a bit behind, we just held our heads and I’m so proud of the way we’ve come out here with a bang and set ourselves up for the final.”

The men’s quad knew anything other than a top-two finish would see them eliminated, and Angus Groom, Peter Lambert, Jack Beaumont and Sam Townsend responded to reach Wednesday’s final.

Elsewhere, Britain’s John Collins and Jonathan Walton reached the semi-finals of the men’s double sculls by winning the repechage.

And compatriots Richard Chambers and Will Fletcher progressed to the semi-finals in the men’s lightweight double sculls by finishing second in their heat.

But defending champion Katherine Copeland, now rowing with Charlotte Taylor, failed to qualify from their women’s lightweight double sculls heat.

The pair have a second chance in the repechage on Tuesday.

Analysis – James Cracknell, double Olympic champion

On the women’s lightweight double sculls: “If you are not on your game at the Olympics, you are going to be in trouble. It’s harsh but the truth. If they haven’t been able to put changes into place on the training ground over two months they can’t do it before the repechage.”

On the men’s four: “That was a scary and impressive display. They’ve laid down a marker now to the rest of the field and overall it’s been an excellent day for men’s heavyweight rowing.”

On the women’s pair: “This will be a wake-up call for them. They were taking more strokes than Denmark to maintain the same speed so that is certainly something to work on before the semi-final.”

On the men’s eight: “Their win was the textbook way to row a heat – lead from the start, dominate through the middle and just watch as the other teams battle it out.”

On the women’s eight: “They responded incredibly well. This is going to give them a huge amount of confidence. They kept themselves very cool. At one stage it looked like Canada could have been racing New Zealand but to win the race after being down shows they have the resilience.”


Rio Olympics 2016: Ireland’s Paddy Barnes in shock defeat

Ireland’s Paddy Barnes is out of the Olympics boxing tournament after suffering a shock points defeat by Samuel Carmona Heredia. Barnes, 29, was level with his 20-year-old opponent after two rounds and the Spaniard, ranked 26 in the world, took the verdict in the final three minutes.

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Light-flyweight Barnes was hoping to win a third Olympic medal having secured bronze at Beijing and London.

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The Belfast fighter was Ireland’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

The Chinese judge gave the verdict to Barnes 29-28, but the Canadian and Uzbekistani judges scored it 29-28 to his opponent.

Afterwards Barnes said he had struggled to make the weight and felt drained.

He said he would not be competing at the 2020 Games in Tokyo.

The surprise defeat of their captain is a further blow for the Irish boxing team.

Before the tournament, an Irish male fighter was ruled out of the Games after failing a drugs test.

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