Rowing: Who won that race? What, we did?

By Anendra Singh

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Fiona Bourke (left) and Zoe Stevenson. PHOTO/AP
Fiona Bourke (left) and Zoe Stevenson. PHOTO/AP

Double scullers Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson were so engrossed with the task that they didn't even realise they had won.

That's the verdict of Bay-born Bourke's mother, Jay, after the pair claimed gold at the world championship regatta in Amsterdam shortly before midnight on Sunday.

"They got over the finish line and they were rowing so hard to get there that they didn't know they had won," said Jay, who watched the race on TV with husband Phil at their Waipukurau home.

"They were both looking in the same direction and pointing to themselves as if to ask, 'Have we won?'

"They were just focused on improving and getting forward that they didn't have time to look to see in front of them."

Bourke and Stevenson's gutsy performance put behind them the memory of finishing runners-up last year.

A withering pace in the last 500m saw them move from third to eclipse the Polish and Australian combinations, winning in 6min 38.04s, 1.32s ahead of the Poles.

"We're extremely proud of her [Bourke]," said Jay, who teaches at Takapau School.

Ex-Takapau and Terrace School pupil Bourke, 25, who is based at Cambridge, is pursuing an accounting degree after two years of chemistry at Otago University, where she took up rowing.

Jay was dumbfounded the TV commentators didn't realise the Kiwi pair were catching up on the leaders in lane six.

"As New Zealanders do, they crept up [on the other two boats] and passed them. It didn't seem to matter whether they were in the middle or out on the edge.

"It was lane six but the girls proved them wrong."

Jay and Phil, who is the Flemington School principal, didn't go to watch their Olympian daughter, a former Central Hawke's Bay College dux, because of their commitment to work.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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