Dunham wins world championship silver
Matt Dunham has won New Zealand’s first medal of the 2017 World Rowing Championships with a stunning second place finish in the lightweight men’s single sculls final.
The final featured a stacked line up including 2016 world champion Paul O’Donovan of Ireland, European champion Michael Schmid of Switzerland and Rio medallist Kristoffer Brun of Norway.
Dunham had a slow start while O’Donovan charged into the lead with Michael Schmid chasing.
The New Zealander looked to be out of contention, sitting in fifth place for the first 1500 metres of the race.
Dunham however had other plans and made his move with 500 metres to go, picking his way from fifth to second place with an outstanding sprint finish.
O’Donovan hung on to a narrow lead to retain his world title in a time of 6:48.870, with Dunham taking silver and Brun bronze.
Dunham was delighted with his silver medal.
“I was coming from behind and in the last 500m I knew I was going to pass out anyway so I just went for it all the way to the bubble line.”
“I was already happy to make the A-final, so I’m really pleased with this.”
Dunham was the only member of the New Zealand Elite Rowing Team racing for a medal today, with other crews facing semi-finals to claim further A final berths.
Single sculler Robbie Manson will race for a medal in Sunday’s A final.
Manson faced a loaded line up in his semi final with Olympian Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba, Rio bronze medallist Ondrej Synek and under 23 bronze medallist Natan Wegrzycki-Szymczyk of Poland.
Manson made a conservative start, sitting back in fifth place at the 500 metre mark. Fournier Rodriguez and Synek battled for first place, but Robbie Manson cranked his stroke rate up to 41 and powered through the field to join the front runners.
Synek, known for his fast finishes, took the win with Fournier Rodriguez second and Manson third.
John Storey and Chris Harris will line up in the men’s double sculls A final.
Storey and Harris took second place in their semi final with the top three crews progressing.
The duo led the field down the course before France’s Mathieu Androndias and Hugo Boucheron made a late dash for the line, just nudging ahead of the New Zealanders.
Mindaugus Griskonis and Saulius Ritter of Lithuania rounded out the top three to also progress to the A final.
Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe took the win in the women’s double scull semi-final, setting them up well for Sunday’s A final medal race.
Donoghue and Loe faced a nervous wait in the gates after an equipment issue in the Dutch boat caused a five-minute delay to the start but looked calm and confident as they charged down the course.
Olympia Aldersey and Madeleine Edmunds of Australia wasted no time out of the start, flying into the lead at 850 metres. Donoghue and Loe stayed within contact along with China’s Fei Wang and Yang Lyu, leaving the rest of the field in their wake.
Not content with second place, Donoghue and Loe surged ahead of the Australians in the last 500 metres to nail the win while Wang and Lyu held on for third.
Hannah Osborne will contest the women’s single sculls B final after finishing in sixth place with a gutsy row in the semi final.
Osborne, who is contesting her first senior world championships, faced competition from five Olympians including Rio medallist Annekatrin Thiel of Germany, world cup gold medallist Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland and former European champion Magdalena Lobnig of Austria.
Osborne couldn’t match the blistering pace set by her more experienced rivals, trailing the field as Gmelin flew to victory in 7:26.900, the fastest time of the day. Sanita Puspure of Ireland took second and Lobnig claimed third place and the last A final berth.
Osborne will line up in Sunday’s B final.
Today’s racing schedule was revised with the possibility of poor weather tomorrow. Racing continues tomorrow with A and B finals for the men’s and women’s pair, four, the lightweight women's double sculls and the men’s quadruple sculls.
Full schedule, start lists and results online at worldrowing.com