Katherine has to settle for silver in Olympic thriller

Katherine Grainger was the gold medalist in London four years ago but took silver this time round.
Katherine Grainger was the gold medalist in London four years ago but took silver this time round.

Former Bearsden Academy pupil Katherine Grainger has won her fifth Olympic medal - and her fourth silver - to become Britain’s most successful female Olympian

The 40-year-old rower and team-mate Victoria Thornley finished second in a thrilling double sculls final in Rio.

Grainger - defending champion after winning gold in London in 2012 with Anna Watkins - and Thornley made a storming start and led Poland’s Magdalena Fularczyk-Kozlowska and Natalia Madaj, who had beaten them in the semi-final, by 0.41 seconds at the first 500 metre checkpoint.

By the halfway point at 1,000 metres they were slightly further ahead at 0.64 seconds and a powerful third quarter saw them lead the Poles by 1.25 seconds with 500 metres to go.

But in a neck-and-neck run-in the Poles just managed to overhaul Grainger and Thornley to win by just under a second.

It was Grainger’s fourth rowing silver, having finished second in the quadruple sculls in 2000 and 2008 and the coxless pairs in 2004.

But despite just failing to retain her title Grainger - who came back to the sport after retiring for two years after her London triumph - was delighted with her performance.

She said: “To have led for most of the race there’s a little tinge of what might have been.

“You don’t ever think you are going to but I knew we were ahead. But it wasn’t quite enought and I don’t think we could have done any more.”