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China rules 2nd World Cup with five gold medals
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China underlined its position as a favorite for Olympic rowing success with five gold medals at the second World Cup on Sunday while New Zealand and Britain enjoyed mixed results in the build up to Beijing.

China won five gold medals, one silver and two bronzes in Olympic classes while New Zealand secured one gold and three silvers to Britain's one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

Canada won two golds and two bronzes while the United States won two golds, two silvers and two bronzes.

Competing in the second of three World Cups ahead of Beijing, China won gold in the women's pair, double sculls, lightweight double sculls, quad and the lightweight men's four.

But the highlight of the day went to New Zealand's 2000 Olympic single sculls champion Rob Waddell, who came from behind with his new partner Nathan Cohen to secure gold in the men's double sculls.

Waddell, who returned to rowing last year after seven years away from the sport with the America's Cup sailing campaigns, moved into the double after losing a race-off for New Zealand's single scull slot against three-time world champion Mahe Drysdale.

Drysdale finished second in Lucerne, just behind the Czech Republic's Ondrej Synek, while New Zealand's reigning world champions in the men's four could only finish sixth behind the winner of Australia.

The New Zealand men's pair and the lightweight men's double also had to settle for second.

"It is a positive start with a new combination," Waddell, 33, said after the race. "We are looking for every bit of encouragement we can get. It's still early days with a few months to the Olympics, so we are still trying to get faster."

Britain, which dominated the opening World Cup in Munich last month with five gold medals, had a mixed weekend, winning the men's lightweight double scull, silver in the men's double and bronze in the women's quad and men's eight.

But it also posted the biggest upset as the men' coxless four, which had to make changes due to injury, failed to get into the A final for the first time in more than 10 years.

The men's four has traditionally been one of Britain's strongest boats with its crews winning Olympic gold in both Athens and Sydney and the British boat won comfortably in Munich.

Britain's women's quad, another favorite for a medal in Beijing after winning the last three world championships, took an early lead but was unable to hold China off toward the end and eventually finished third behind China and the US.

"We had a great start in Munich and now I guess a little bit of reality has set in," David Tanner, Britain's performance director, said. "I'm very pleased with the medals that we won.

The US won the women's eight and Canada won the men's event.

(Agencies via China Daily June 3, 2008)

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