Rowing: Four more medals; nine crews qualified for Olympics

Eve Macfarlane.
Eve Macfarlane.
New Zealand will have the two big boats in action at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year.

At the final day of the world championships in France yesterday, New Zealand won another four medals.

The women's double won gold, the women's eights won silver, as did Mahe Drysdale in the single sculls, while the men's double won a bronze.

New Zealand had a goal of trying to qualify 14 boats for next year's Olympics and, at the end of the world championships, had qualified nine boats for next year's big show. More qualifying chances will come next year.

At yesterday's event on Lake Aiguebelette, the women's double never looked in any trouble.

Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane were strong and smooth as they came flying through the field in the second half of the race to take the lead and win gold.

Zoe Stevenson.
Zoe Stevenson.
Their gold medal tops off a perfect season for the duo, after they won gold at the second and third world cup regattas.

The women's eight rowed a magnificent race to claim silver behind powerhouse and reigning world champion the United States.

They made history, becoming the first New Zealand women's eight to qualify for the Olympic Games.

Coxwain Francie Lawson was elated to win silver.

''It's been a phenomenal experience. We created history in Lucerne and our big goal was Olympic qualification but to stand on the podium is an amazing experience. You couldn't ask for a better crew. There's just so much trust and confidence in each other,'' she said.

Drysdale moved through the field and went stroke for stroke with archrival and reigning world champion Ondrej Synek.

The two scullers were locked in battle until the final stroke, when Synek crossed the line centimetres ahead of Drysdale, leaving him with silver.

Robbie Manson and Chris Harris remained calm under pressure in the men's double as they hung on to the race leader throughout.

The Kiwi double had an impressive last 500m to push through Germany and take bronze.

The New Zealand men's eight had a tough task, up against some of the heavyweights of world rowing.

The young crew punched well above its weight, and was right among the frontrunners but was unlucky to come fourth in a photo finish.

The eight is the first crew to qualify the big boat since 1984.

The men's lightweight four of Curtis Rapley, Alistair Bond, James Lassche, James Hunter was in the hunt behind race leader Switzerland but was unable to keep up with the fast pace in the final stages and finished fourth, just missing out on a medal.

A qualifying regatta next May provides an opportunity to get more crews to Rio de Janeiro.

Eleven crews represented New Zealand at the London Olympics in 2012 although more rowers will be in Rio de Janeiro next year as the eights have qualified.

Add a Comment