Rowing: Double golden finish to superb campaign

By David Leggat

Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson of New Zealand, Women's Double Sculls celebrate after winning the final at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam. Photo / AP
Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson of New Zealand, Women's Double Sculls celebrate after winning the final at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam. Photo / AP

Talk about a golden finish; victories for double scullers Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson, and single sculler Emma Twigg capped off a superb world championship regatta for New Zealand's rowers in Amsterdam early today.

Those wins lifted New Zealand's gold medal haul to six, and overall swag to nine, including two silvers late last night for single sculler Mahe Drysdale and the men's lightweight four.

It is the largest number of gold medals New Zealand have won at a world championship, and makes it the most successful campaign.

At the 2010 championships on Lake Karapiro, New Zealand won 10 medals, but only three were gold.

In 2011 it was four golds, a silver and four bronze, but this year is a far better return than last, when just one gold, three silver and a bronze were won.

Bourke and Stevenson turned in a splendid performance to put behind them the memory of finishing second a year ago, with a withering surge over the last 500m.

They were third at that point before easing past the Polish and Australian combinations, winning in 6min 38.04s, 1.32s ahead of the Poles.

Twigg whooped in delight at her gold, having finished with bronze and silver medals at the last three worlds.

She bossed her duel with Australian defending champion Kim Crow, and had a margin of almost three seconds at the line.


Emma Twigg of New Zealand celebrates after winning the Women's Single Sculls event. Photo / AP

The win has special significance for Twigg, who is stepping aside from rowing for the next 10 months to do academic studies in Europe.

She'll then have to win her seat back ahead of the countdown to the Rio Olympics in 2016. Today's performance will, however, have been the equivalent of leaving a fat reminder card pinned to Rowing New Zealand's door.

New Zealand's other golds were won by Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, who added the coxed pair with Caleb Shepherd to their now expected coxless pair crown; Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie in the lightweight women's double and the women's four in the non-Olympic event.

Olympic champion Drysdale had a titanic duel with his arch rival Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic, who prevailed by a mere .73s.

The lightweight four of James Hunter, Alastair Bond - standing in for the injured James Lassche - Peter Taylor, and Curtis Rapley were unable to peg back their Danish rivals, with whom they have had a series of tough contests in the last two seasons.

The Danes won in 5: 47.15, with New Zealand an impressive second in 5:48.76 and Britain third a further .82s back.

In the men's double scull B final Karl and Robbie Manson finished second behind Great Britain, for eighth place overall.

RNZ will name a high performance summer squad on September 10, with training to start on September 29. Regional performance centre squads for Auckland, Waikato, Central and Southern will also be named this month.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 23 Dec 2014 12:05:36 Processing Time: 320ms