Kiwis make their mark on day one of World Rowing Cup in Poznan
The New Zealand elite rowing team launched a strong charge on day one of World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland.
Reasonably calm weather and mild temperatures welcomed the new-look New Zealand team which includes a mix of experienced senior elite rowers and Olympians as well as a number of young athletes making their international elite debut.
Unfazed by some fierce competition including several Olympic medallists and previous champions, the crews rose to the challenge and put down a confident performance on the first day of racing.
Former under-23 world champion Jackie Kiddle opened the New Zealand campaign on Lake Malta with a bang.
Kiddle started conservatively in the lightweight women’s single sculls event, coming across the 750 metre mark in fifth place. The 22-year-old had other tricks up her sleeve however as she made a devastating move at the mid-way point and rowed through the field to take a convincing win and a straight progression to the semi-final.
Anastasia Lebedeva of Russia hung on for second place to join Kiddle in the semi-final while the trailing crews were forced into the repechage.
Robbie Manson was the favourite on paper in the men’s single sculls and backed it up with an absolutely dominant performance in his heat.
Manson was untouchable from the gun and was sitting on world-record pace before easing up and eventually crossing the line in a time of 6.45:27, still over six seconds ahead of closest rival Brian Rosso of Argentina.
Olympians John Storey and Chris Harris made easy work of their men’s double sculls heat, finishing with a tidy nine second lead over Australia’s Luke Letcher and David Watts, and Petr Melichar and Matyas Klang of the Czech Republic to qualify for tomorrow’s semi-final.
Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe were in a class of their own in the women’s double sculls heat. The duo looked cool and composed as they left the other crews in their wake, finishing ten seconds clear of Germany’s Daniela Schultze and Frieda Haemmerling in second place. They will progress straight to the A final on Sunday.
Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler made an undeniable impression in the women’s pair, powering to a win in a scorching time of 6.54:27, with an ocean of clear water behind them to second place getters Chile. They now have a day to recover ahead of Sunday’s A final.
Making their international elite debut, Jackie Gowler and Kirstyn Goodger battled with Erin Reelick and Tracy Eisser of the USA in the women’s pair. The New Zealanders lead from the gate but Reelick and Eisser made their move with 500 metres to go to secure the win and forcing Gowler and Goodger to the repechage.
Hannah Osborne also made her elite international debut and secured a berth in the women’s single scull semi-final with a second place finish behind Olympic silver medallist and European champion Victoria Thornley.
There were only two semi-final qualification places up for grabs in the heat. Thornley controlled the race from the start but Osborne, who was sitting in sixth at the 500m mark, held her composure to power through and outsprint Irish Olympian Sanita Puspure and claim her place in the semi-final.
After narrowly missing out on a ticket to the lightweight men’s single scull semi-final after finishing second in his heat, Matt Dunham fought his way back by securing the required second place finish behind Hin Chun Chiu of Hong Kong in the repechage. The 22-year-old will contest one of two semi-finals tomorrow.
Without the unbeatable duo of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray the men’s pair was anyone’s race.
Despite best efforts Cameron Webster and Alex Kennedy were unable to match the pace. European silver medallists Valentin and Theo Onfroy won with a three second lead on the Netherland’s Dirk Uittenbogaard and Bo Wullings, claiming the automatic A final qualification spots. Webster and Kennedy will now face a repechage where they have another chance at gaining a place in the medal race.
The men’s quad of Olympian Nathan Flannery, Giacomo Thomas, and under-23 silver medallists Cameron Crampton and Lewis Hollows missed out on a qualifying spot with a fourth place finish in a high-paced heat and will contest the repechage tomorrow in a bid to make the final.
Racing continues tomorrow with repechages and semi-finals in the morning before the first of the A finals, including the lightweight single sculls, in the afternoon.
Startlists, live results and audio commentary can be found at www.worldrowing.com. Sunday’s finals will be broadcast LIVE on SKY Sport (New Zealand). See planner for details.