BALLARAT sporting legend Anthony Edwards is within reach of a fourth career Olympic rowing medal in London.
He will row in the men’s lightweight four final tomorrow after the Australian crew last night qualified with a third in a semi-final.
Sam Beltz, Ben Cureton, Todd Skipworth and the now Tasmanian-based Edwards chased home Denmark and South Africa in the second of two semi-finals.
In his fifth Olympic Games, Edwards, 39, is an Australian rowing great with two silver medals and one bronze.
Edwards, Beltz, Cureton and Skipworth are also the reigning world champions.
They had to it hard last night though in the cut and thrust of a cut-throat 2000m semi-final, in which just the first three advanced to the final.
The were some nervous moments after the Australians were slow out of the blocks and fifth of the six crews after a conservative opening 500m.
They worked their way into third by the 1000m and was second by a breath going into the last 500m.
While Denmark was always clear in front, South Africa finished better than anyone to pass Edwards and his crewmates in the closing stages.
Less than a boat length covered the first three on the line, with Denmark clocking six minutes, 3.53 seconds.
Australia’s time was 6:05.31.
Great Britain is the one to beat for gold after winning the first heat in 5:59.68 from Switzerland and Netherlands.
This will be Edwards’ fourth Olympic final.
He was a bronze medallist in the lightweight double scull in Atlanta in 1996, silver medallist in the lightweight men’s four in Sydney in 2000 and silver medallist in the lightweight men’s four in Athens in 2004.
Edwards also competed in Beijing in 2008, finishing ninth in the lightweight men’s four.
He was born and grew up in Ballarat, only leaving to take up a role with the Tasmania Institute of Sport and pursue his rowing career after Lake Wendouree dried up a decade ago.
Men’s lightweight four lane draw (tomorrow 7pm AEST): 1 Netherlands, 2 Switzerland, 3 Great Britain 4 Denmark, 5 South Africa, 6 Australia.