Rio Olympics: rower Rhys Grant secures semi-final spot

Rhys Grant in action.
Rhys Grant in action.

A CLASSY race in calm conditions by Dianella rower Rhys Grant has secured his spot in the men’s single sculls semi-finals at the Rio Olympics.

Grant, who is Australia’s lone competitor in the men’s singles, came in second place behind 2015 Pan American Games singles and doubles winner Angel Fournier Rodriguez.

The Australian made a quick start to the first quarter-final to keep up with one of the gold medal favourite Fournier and Norway’s Nils Jakob Hoff.

Fournier showed his experience and took advantage of the almost perfect conditions to finish in the first lap ahead of Grant and Hoff.

In the second lap, Grant fell a boat-and-a-half length away from the dominating Fournier but maintained a healthy distance from Hoff.

The third lap saw Cuba’s most successful rower extended his commanding lead into three boat lengths in front of Grant, who was battling hard to close the gap.

While Fournier powered into first place, Grant managed to pull away from Hoff and ease across the finish line in second place.

Fournier clocked a time of 6 minutes and 51 seconds, four seconds ahead of Grant (6:55.14) and six seconds ahead of Hoff  (6:57.94) in third place.

The trio will compete in the semi-finals on Thursday night for a spot in the final.