Sporting Achievement of the Year 2013: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond

By David Leggat

Eric Murray and Hamish Bond hit 16 straight wins with their triumph at the world championship in Chungju, South Korea in August. Photo / Getty Images
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond hit 16 straight wins with their triumph at the world championship in Chungju, South Korea in August. Photo / Getty Images

For all New Zealand's notable achievements at the world's premier rowing venues, one combination stands supreme.

To absolutely no surprise, Eric Murray and Hamish Bond maintained their iron grip on the coxless pair event, as they have since the start of the four-year Olympic cycle in 2009.

The duo went to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as part of the defending world champion coxless four, but were stunned to miss out on a place in the final.

They have made up for that disappointment in spades since being put in the double seater at the start of the 2009 campaign. They haven't lost a race in those five years.

Victories in the second and third World Cups at Eton Dorney and Lucerne this year, rounded out by the world title in Chungju, Korea in August, took the pair to 16 straight wins - one Olympic gold in London last year, four world championship crowns and 11 World Cup titles.

The Eton victory gave them the world-best run in men's rowing of 14; in Korea they overtook the Belarusian sculling legend Ekaterina Karsten for most successive titles.

At Eton they set a world-best time in the discipline, 6min 16.01s; at the world final they coped better than the rest with a tough headwind to win in 6:34.98, almost seven seconds ahead of French pair Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette.

During their record run, Murray, 31, and Bond, 27, have beaten rowers from 25 countries and won 44 races, including heats and semifinals.

Right now there is no one pushing hard on their heels. Put that down to their own skill, stamina and sheer will to stay on top.

Their desire to stay at the summit of the sport is undiminished.

"We do enjoy hard racing, but we'd like to stay unbeaten," Murray said earlier this year.

Coach Noel Donaldson said his only advice from Rowing New Zealand had been "don't bugger them up".

- NZ Herald

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