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Karsten wins heat in first day of Olympic rowing

Beijing, China (Sports Network) - The rowing competition kicked off Saturday at the Beijing Olympics with heats in seven different disciplines at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park.

In women's single sculls, Belarus' Ekaterina Karsten, a four-time Olympic medalist and a two-time winner of gold in this event, won her heat with a time of 7:40.03, finishing ahead of American Michelle Guerette, who also moved onto the second round. China's Zhang Xiuyun also took her heat in 7:38.16, the fastest time of the day.

Sweden's Lassi Karonen had the fastest time in the men's single sculls, as he won his heat in 7:14.64. Norway's Olaf Tufte, gold medal winner in Athens, won his heat with a time of 7:20.20. American Ken Jurkowski finished fourth in Campbell's heat to move onto the next round.

In women's pairs, Yuliya Bichyk and Natallia Helakh of Belarus posted the fastest time in winning their heat in 7:22.69, while Romania's Georgetta Andrunache and Viorica Susanu of Romania won the other heat in 7:24.47.

The fatest time of the day in men's pairs belonged to the Australian team of Duncan Free and Drew Ginn, who finished in 6:41.15, while New Zealanders George Bridgewater and Nathan Twaddle took their heat in 6:41.65.

The Chinese team of Qin Li and Tian Liang won their heat in the double sculls, finishing in 7:03.13. Georgia Evers-Swindell and Caroline Evers-Swindell, twin sisters from New Zealand, won the other heat in 7:03.92.

In men's double sculls, Australia had the fastest time of the day as David Crawshay and Scott Brennan took Heat 3 in 6:21.39. Nathan Cohen and Rob Waddell of New Zealand won Heat 1 and Great Britain's Nathan Wells and Stephen Rowbotham took the second heat.

The final event of the day was men's fours, which saw Great Britain, the Netherlands and Australia win their respective heats.

Sunday's rowing action has heats scheduled in men's and women's lightweight double sculls, lightweight men's fours, men and women's quadruple sculls and men and women's eights.

08/09 12:04:27 ET