Rowing: Kiwis claim two more gold medals

By Tom Bartlett

New Zealand banked another two gold medals at the world rowing championships at Poznan, Poland, through lightweight single sculler Duncan Grant and the lightweight double of Storm Uru and Peter Taylor.

Grant ensured New Zealand once again completed the double of men's single sculls titles when he charged to victory in his final.

Just over an hour later, Uru and Taylor, who were fourth at the Beijing Olympics, turned that disappointment into golden delight by leading their final from start to finish.

Grant, the two-time defending champion going into this regatta, struggled to third in his semi on Friday night but was back in commanding form when it mattered most.

He stormed out to the front at the 500m mark and never relinquished the lead, crossing the finish line over a second ahead of Greece's Vasileios Polymeros with a time of six minutes, 50.78 seconds.

Grant and Uru and Taylor join single sculler Mahe Drysdale and the men's pair of Eric Murray as Hamish Bond as gold medallists.

Drysdale and Murray and Bond powered their way to victory yesterday while the women's pair of Rebecca Scown and Emma Feathery won bronze.

The men's double of Nathan Cohen and Matthew Trott and Emma Twigg in the women's single sculls narrowly missed out of medals, finishing fourth in their finals.

But Grant was not to be denied.

"It feels as good as the rest," Grant said of his third successive title.

"It was a hard ask. I knew the Greek was going to be a tough competitor. He has a very good pedigree behind him."

Grant, who was forced to race the final from lane one after his lacklustre semi final display, admitted there were a few more nerves this time around.

" I didn't have a particularly good semifinal the other day but today's race went exactly to plan."

Grant sent a message to his rivals in the first 500m as he took control of the race, dispelling fears his grip of the title was loosening.

" Being the defending champion, I was being marked and from my result in the semi, they might have discounted me a little."

While Polymeros pursued Grant valiantly, he failed to close the gap and crossed the line over a second behind the kiwi.

Grant now has his sights set on a successful defence of his world title at Lake Karapiro next year.

He said the lure of the Olympics is strong but it will not stop him racing for glory on his home course.

"I'll be there," he said.

"There's always a class field, even though it's not an Olympic boat. There's a considerable amount of depth."

Polymeros clocked 6min 52.33 and Denmark's Mads Rasmussen took the bronze in 6min 56.25.

Uru and Taylor clocked 6min 10.62 for their win and were followed home by France's Jeremie Azou and Frederic Dufour in 6min 12.57sec and Italy's Marcello Mianni and Elia Luini 6min 15.08.

- NZPA

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