Chinese Li Qian and Xu Dongxiang, emerging stars in women's lightweight doubles, cruised to Sunday's final Friday, the best ever Olympic results for Chinese in this discipline.
19-year-old Li, and Xu, 21, bearing great potentials to win a medal, came out the third in final B, thus booking a berth for the final.
"We are happy with our performance, and we hope to make history for Chinese women's lightweight doubles." Li said in confidence.
Australia, 2002 world champions, won the first place in 6:54.01,followed by Poland, 0.48 seconds behind.
In another semifinal, favorites Germany and Romania made it through to the final. Romania finished first in 6:51.84 while Germany, reigning world champions, were third placed. The second place went to the Netherlands, who led Germany by only 0.33 seconds.
After a surprise loss in the semi of men's single sculls, German Marcel Hacker, bronze medalist in Sydney, became the undisputed star when crossing the finish line in 6:47.26 in final B, more than 5 seconds ahead of the second finisher Andre Vonanburg of Switzerland, followed by Slovenian Davor Mizerit.
Chinese girls Cong Huanling and Feng Xueling, topped the final B, placing seventh overall in the event. They were third early in the race but managed to take the lead.
Good news for Greeks as the Greek team of Vasileios Polymeros and Nikolaos Skiathitis, secondly placed in men's lightweight doubles, advanced to the final.
Polymeros said, "Today my dream came true. After participating in two Olympic Games, in the third I managed to get into the final. We can be better than today and get second or third place in the final, but nothing's for sure."
In men's pair, Britain won a photo finish, only 0.04 seconds ahead of the Italians.
Fourteen gold medals will be decided on Saturday and Sunday, seven for each day.
(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2004)