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Canada's men's 4 stumbles at rowing world championships

Kevin Light of Victoria remembers being in the ‘B’ final at the 2005 world rowing championships. Three years later, he was an Olympic gold medallist in Beijing.

Kevin Light of Victoria remembers being in the ‘B’ final at the 2005 world rowing championships. Three years later, he was an Olympic gold medallist in Beijing.

Light, now a coach with the Canadian junior team and at Claremont Secondary, said it is far from panic time as the Elk Lake-based national men’s program has hit a low point at the 2013 world championships in South Korea.

The Canadian four — featuring 2012 London Olympic eights silver-medallists Rob Gibson, Conlin McCabe and Will Crothers — was surprisingly relegated to the consolation round Tuesday.

“They were a bit unlucky being in the fastest repechage. If they were in the other rep, they would have won,” said Light, gold medallist with the Canadian eight at the 2008 Summer Games.

“A year after the Olympics is never time to hit the panic button. When I was only in the ‘B’ final the year after the 2004 Athens Olympics, it only made me angrier than I already was and motivated me even more. But if these results happen again next year or in 2015, then there’s a bit of a problem because those are far more important years [leading to Rio 2016].”

Canada currently does not have the manpower depth on Elk Lake and has not entered a men’s eight at the world championships for the first time in years. That’s telling in an event in which Canada has 11 Olympic medals, including three golds.

Meanwhile, Patricia Obee of Victoria rebounded from her disappointing opening race Sunday in the women’s lightweight single to win her repechage Tuesday and advance to the semifinals.

“I refocused on the things that I’ve been doing in training that help me go fast,” said the Stelly’s grad, seventh in the double with fellow-Victorian Lindsay Jennerich at the London Olympics and expected to be a medal storyline for Rio 2016.

The men’s quad, which includes Olympian and crew leader Michael Braithwaite of Duncan, also advanced to the semifinals.

The world championships run through Sunday.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com