Robbie Manson has a powerful motivation going into the world rowing championships in Bulgaria this week. The single sculling seat has a proud tradition in New Zealand sport, let alone rowing.

After all, Rob Waddell won Olympic gold in Sydney 18 years ago, then Mahe Drysdale took the seat to new heights, winning bronze, gold and gold at the last three Games.

He fancies another crack in Tokyo in 2020, but for now, Manson is the man in possession of the seat, after seeing off Drysdale in their clashes this year, most importantly at the final World Cup regatta in Lucerne in July.

Manson also contested last year's world championships. He arrived having not only won the World Cup events but put up a world-best time in Poznan, Poland, which still stands, of 6m 30.740s.


However, Manson's ambitions were dashed by injury which affected his lead-in to the worlds. He finished sixth, and if you think that stung, you'd be right.

This time, he will go in as favourite, having won World Cup regattas at Linz and Lucerne, and his fitness and health are good.

"You never really know what the other guys are doing," the 28-year-old said from Plovdiv. "Some were at Linz but not Lucerne and vice versa but you don't know where they are with their training.

"I've certainly done a lot more speed work leading up to the world champs than I did for the World Cups."

Czech Republic veteran Ondrej Synek will be pushing hard. The five-time world champion, three-time Olympic medallist and perennial Drysdale rival, has a reputation for picking his time.

Manson pointed out he went out hard in the Lucerne regatta and "had it been the world champs, he would have dug deeper than he did in the second thousand. He always turns up for the world champs; that's the one that matters."

As Manson well knows, win as many World Cup regattas as you like, but it's the Olympics and worlds which are remembered. He has put last year out of his mind.

"You try and approach them all the same way. Last year didn't work out how I wanted it to but I've put that behind me.


"I'm reasonably happy where I'm at. I've just got to go out and try to enjoy it."

The victory is all that counts for Manson in the coming week.