DEFENDING Olympic champions Mark Hunter and Zac Purchase showed a welcome return to form in the men's lightweight double sculls yesterday.

The Bucks pair won their heat in a time of 6.36.29, finishing ahead of New Zealand and Australia.

After finishing last in the last two World Cup finals earlier this summer, the win was a vital pick-me-up for the British duo ahead of the semi-finals on Thursday.

Hunter said: "This is the Olympic Games, and it was important to come here and kick off on a good start, show them that we're back and ready to go. We're here to perform and race hard and deliver the ultimate performance.

"When things aren't going so well and you're not working well as a unit, you go back to basics. We sat in each other's positions to see what the other was going through, what the others were thinking. We've done all the hard work and strength in the gym and now it's good to get back to racing.

"It's a starting point, not an end product. There's still more to come but it's a good place to work from."

Purchase said: "It was a really good confidence builder for us, beating the Kiwis who are the in-form crew this season. We knew we had to do a good race. We are pleased to win the heat and now we move on. "