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Tough defeats early on for Canada's Olympic team at London Games

Canada's Christine Sinclair celebrates her goal during the group F women's soccer match between South Africa and Canada at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, in Coventry, England, Saturday, July 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

LONDON - Canada has faced some early disappointment in the first full day of competition at the London Olympics.

Ryan Cochrane thought he had advanced to the men's 400-metre freestyle swimming final after securing the eighth and final spot.

But the Victoria native was later knocked out when defending champion Park Tae-hwan of South Korea successfully appealed his disqualification.

The defending Olympic champion men's eight rowing team finished a distant fourth in their heat Saturday to drop into the repechage.

Canada now needs a top-four finish in the repechage to advance to the final.

"We're unhappy," said Victoria's Malcolm Howard. "We didn't do what we set up to do. We'll have to improve on Monday."

Germany, which is undefeated in three years, won the heat to move directly to Wednesday's final. The United States also advanced in the other heat.

In other rowing results, Scott Frandsen of Kelowna, B.C., and Dave Calder of Victoria won their men's pair heat to advance to the semifinals while Michael Braithwaite of Duncan, B.C., and Kevin Kowalyk of Winnipeg finished fifth in their men's double sculls heat and will race in the repechage.

Meanwhile, the women's basketball team, playing in its first Games in 12 years, had a shot at a massive upset in its opening match before losing 58-53 to No. 2 Russia.

Canada had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter but Russia's offence exploded with 21 points in the fourth, including an 18-3 run, and Becky Hammon's basket with just over two minutes left gave Russia the lead for good.

Kim Smith of Mission, B.C., led Canada with 20 points including five three-pointers. She said the result helped 11th-ranked Canada make a statement early in the competition.

"We know we are a good team," said Smith. "The rest of the world may not know that yet, but we've been building this program for two years and tonight I think we showed that."

In the pool, Cochrane won his heat in three minutes 47.26 seconds. But he will now have to look ahead to the 1,500 next week after Park, who was initially disqualified for a false start, was re-instated.

Scott Dickens of Burlington, Ont., had a better day in the pool, breaking his own Canadian record with a time of 59.85 seconds to move into the men's 100 backstroke semifinal later Saturday.

Katerine Savard of Cap-Rouge, Que., advanced to the women's 100 butterfly semifinals after initially missing out by 0.2 seconds in qualifying. Savard moved on when Inge Dekker of the Netherlands withdrew.

Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., failed to advance in the women's 400 individual medley, while Alec Page of Victoria was also eliminated in the men's 400 IM. In the women's 100 freestyle relay, Canada was 11th and did not advance.

Elsewhere at the Games:

— Laval, Que., natives Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak were knocked out of women's doubles tennis with a 6-2, 6-0 loss to Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova and Galina Voskoboeva.

— Montreal's Sergio Pessoa was eliminated by Kazakhstan's Yerkebulan Kossayev in men's under-60 kilogram judo.

— In fencing, Victoria's Monica Peterson won her opening match before being eliminated in the women's foil individual round of 32 by American Lee Kiefer.

— Andre Ho of Richmond, B.C., lost 4-1 to Nigeria's Segun Toriola in the preliminary round of men's singles table tennis.

— Grace Gao of Calgary and Vancouver's Tobias Ng lost 2-0 to Denmark's Joachim Fischer and Christinna Pedersen in their opening mixed doubles badminton match.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2012
The Canadian Press

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