Rowing: Bond after fifth pairs title in row

Hamish Bond
Hamish Bond
Olympic gold medallist Hamish Bond (North End) is keen to retain his unbeaten record in the premier pairs at Lake Ruataniwha this week.

Bond (27) and Jade Uru are poised to win their fifth consecutive New Zealand coxless pairs title together.

The task will be made easier because Bond's Olympic partner, Eric Murray, is not contesting the pair this week. He is competing only in the four and the eight.

Bond planned to race only in the pair this week but has been added to the Southern Regional Performance Centre's premier coxless four and eight. He replaces his younger brother, Alistair, who has glandular fever.

Bond is certain to gain his 15th red coat in the pair and has a starter's chance in the Southern RPC four and eight. He still has a long way to go to catch up with Waikato oarsman Chris White, who won 38 red coats in the 1980s and 1990s.

''Our plan was to carry on training in the pair together while we were at Twizel,'' Bond said.

''We are conscious that we don't have a lot of time to prepare for the World Cup in Sydney on March 25.''

Bond and Murray had a long rest after winning their Olympic gold medal at the London Olympics.

They returned to the water in late December and have trained together in the pair since the middle of January. It was not easy getting back into the training routine.

''It has been difficult some days. Our hands have been sore and there are a lot of little specific muscles that had disappeared.

''The fitness felt OK but the muscles of the body were not there to do what we wanted. Some of our muscles were sore.''

Bond and Murray are getting back into the groove and some of the training speeds have been faster than expected.

Tonks coached the pair to the London Olympics but he is now in charge of the women's programme. Bond and Murray have followed their own programme since they returned to the water.

''Rowing New Zealand has yet to appoint another coach to look after the men's sweep oar programme,'' Bond said.

''Dick trained us really hard but it might be time for a fresh outlook. Rowing New Zealand will make those decisions over the next few weeks.''

Bond is just focusing on this year and is not targeting the Rio de Janeiro Olympics at the moment.