rowingvoice

The independent voice of rowing in Britain

Hacker hits three-year high (M1x final Munich)

Posted by rowingvoice on June 21, 2012

The details vary, but the men’s singles script outline has looked set in stone for the last few years.  Once Mahe Drysdale had declared himself unable to race after damaging his shoulder in a bike accident, and Ondrej Synek found better things to do, there was no doubt that Alan Campbell should have been a shoe-in for the gold in their absence, let alone those of the scullers from Cuba, China and Lithuania.

Yet making the British champion think again was Marcel Hacker, bursting into an early lead and then driving home to the cheers of the local crowd for the most significant win for three whole years.  Winning the German singles trial less than a fortnight before had been a great boost to Hacker, who may be on his way out of a rowing career but is clearly keen to finish in style.

Behind him things got rather confusing as Mexican Patrick Loliger Salas held onto Hacker’s stern for as long as possible before fading, sapping Campbell’s confidence and opening the door for Swede Lassi Karonen to push into the silver-medal position ahead of the Briton.

“That start was pretty impressive from Marcel,” said Drysdale, adding expert colour during the FISA video commentary.   He was sympathetic for Tufte, remarking, “You don’t want to see an Olympic champion beaten and beaten and beaten.  You can’t write him off yet, but he hasn’t shown any signs over the last two years that he’s capable of coming back and he’s got a lot of work to do.”

Others beside Tufte were disappointed, though.  “Today I just lacked power from the first stroke,” said Campbell.  “I haven’t got that (snaps fingers) ‘ping’ to just go when I want.  My expectation was that in the absence of the guys I’m aiming at, this should have been mine for the taking.  This isn’t where I want to be, basically.”

He admitted he didn’t really try once he had realised he couldn’t call on his usual sprints and pushes – perhaps unable to summon the motivation without Drysdale and Synek missing.  “Before I could just bury myself:  in a race like that I would have come home in a body bad before I came home with a bronze, but I just couldn’t do it.”

The highly encouraging part for Britain was Graeme Thomas making the most of a difficult race for others including Olaf Tufte, to claim fourth place a couple of lengths behind Campbell.

Rachel Quarrell

Gold Marcel Hacker (GER), silver Lassi Karonen (SWE), bronze Alan Campbell (GBR); GBR2, MEX1, NOR.

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