Rowing: Emma Twigg has talent to match Olympic twins

Comparisons are odious, but one look at the Emma Twigg dossier and it's pretty hard not to make them.

The blond hair. Striking features. The Hawkes Bay upbringing followed by a move to Waikato. First plonked in a rowboat in her teens and not necessarily liking it.

And now this week performing way above her station at a world championships.

It could so easily be the CV of Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell, but instead it's Twigg, the rising star of New Zealand rowing who hopes to follow the lead of the Olympic champion twins.

By qualifying for the final of the women's single sculls at the world championships, she also booked her berth at next year's Olympics, a remarkable feat for someone barely out of her teens but no surprise to those who have followed her.

It started in the fourth form at Napier Girls High School.

"The first week I started I hated it. Dad encouraged me to keep going because he coached it," she said.

"If it wasn't for him, maybe I'd have thrown in the towel after day two. It's a sport that takes some getting used to."

Peter Twigg was on to a winner.

His daughter improved quickly, linking with Hawkes Bay Rowing Club, where she observed the Evers-Swindells - eight years her senior - with much admiration.

Her talent was recognised by prominent Hawkes Bay businessman Sam Kelt, who offered her a decade-long sponsorship.

Just weeks after that agreement in mid-2005, she won the world junior single sculls title in Brandenburg, Germany.

Last month another world title was collected, the under-23 crown in Scotland.

- NZPA

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