By Mark Etheridge
Second time Paralympian Sandra Khumalo was Team South Africa’s first rower in action in Rio on Friday..
Going off in lane two of the AS Women’s Single Skulls (ASW1x), Khumalo ended fifth of six rowers in the first of two heats.
She maintained fifth spot from start to finish as she covered the 1000 metre course (para-rowing is half the distance compared to the Olympic distances) in 6min 05.030sec.
She went through the halfway mark in 3:00.540.
That saw her going through to the repechage as China’s Lili Wang clocked a personal best to win the first heat in 5:21.040 after leading from start to finish.
The second heat saw Rachel Morris of Great Britain winning in 5:32.15.
Only the winners of each heart gained automatic qualification into the A-Final.
Morris is the world’s fastest rower in this event going into the Games with a 5:09.28 at the World Cup in Poznan, Poland earlier this year.
Paralympic record belongs to Ukraine’s Alla Lysenko with the 5:29.99 set in London four years ago.