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OLYMPICS: Houghton relieved to clinch final spot
Fran Houghton spoke of her relief after coming through a dramatic repechage to reach the Olympic final.
Houghton, from Wheatley, and her women’s quadruple sculls crew, including Henley’s Debbie Flood, finished third in yesterday’s race at Eton Dorney Lake, so will row for gold tomorrow.
Having finished last in their heat on Saturday, alarm bells were ringing when Britain were in sixth place early on.
But buoyed by the superb home crowd, they clawed their way back to third and a spot in the final, recording a time of 6mins 21.65secs.
“It was a really big relief,” said Houghton, who learnt to row at Oxford’s Dragon School. “That is the most pressure a lot of us have ever been under.
“We have got through a really, really tough race in tough conditions. We are just delighted to be in the final.
“We are confident in ourselves and know that we still have our best to get out.
“We are going to really work to make sure that happens on Wednesday.”
Houghton admitted the early stages of their repechage had not gone to plan, but said the 23,000 crowd helped them recover.
She said: “I know we are good enough to be in that final.
“No matter how far down we are, I know that there is something we can do to get back.
“The crowd was unbelievable. We thought it was quite loud on Saturday, but today it was almost like it was a 1,500m race and in the last 500, you just get carried through it. It is just a wall of sound – a roar.
“You can hear it building and then you can’t hear anything else. We can’t hear each other and we are screaming our heads off. It is pretty amazing!”
Houghton added: “We were quite far behind, but we like to make it dramatic and exciting!
“All these people have come for some excitement.”
Flood said: “It was a pretty emotional race, we would not have planned it quite as it was, but we really held our nerve.
“We want to go out and dominate racing, but we really held our nerve.
“We knew that they weren’t getting away from us.
“No matter how much it was hurting, the crowd means that you are going to get every ounce of energy and more out of yourself.”