Triumph and disappointment for New Zealand crews
The New Zealand Olympic Rowing team faced both glory and disappointment in Rio today. Single scullers Mahe Drysdale and Emma Twigg progressed to their semi finals. Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of the men’s pair and the lightweight men’s four all booked places in their A final events, while both the men’s and women’s double sculls crews missed out in agonisingly close fashion by one place.
Conditions were calm again with light winds and clear skies at the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.
Single sculler Mahe Drysdale faced long-time rival and current world champion Ondrej Synek in his quarterfinal, ensuring a cat and mouse chase down the course. The two boats were bow to bow for much of the latter part of the course, but Drysdale managed to pull ahead to secure a berth in the A/B semi-final along with Synek and Shcharbachenia of Belarus.
Emma Twigg powered to victory in her quarterfinal heat after an early challenge from Olympic champion Miroslava Topinkova-Knapkova. Topinkova-Knapkova held on for second, while Kenia Lechuga Alanis of Mexico claimed third and the final place in the A/B semi-final.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray ensured their seven year winning streak remained unbroken, crossing the line comfortably ahead of Great Britani and South Africa in the men’s pair semi-final. The remain the firm favourites for gold in Rio.
James Lassche, Peter Taylor, Alistair Bond and James Hunter showed their power and skill in the lightweight men’s four semi-final to book a place in the A final. Italy snatched an early lead and the chasing New Zealand crew raced bowball to bowball with Great Britain and France down the course, finally putting in a huge surge to drop Great Britain and claim third place behind Italy and France.
Current world champions Eve Macfarlane and Zoe Stevenson missed out on a place in the A final in a shock result from their women’s double sculls A/B semi-final. The New Zealand duo were forced to settle for fourth place by less than a second after the US crew of Meghan O’Leary and Ellen Tomek claimed third in a nail biting finish. First and second were awarded to Greece and Lithuania respectively.
The men’s double scull crew of Chris Harris and Robbie Manson could not match the pace set by Croatia’s dominant Sinkovic brothers, Norway and Great Britain. Harris and Manson finished a heart-breaking fourth, one place outside of the A final qualification. They will contest the B final.
Racing continues tomorrow with repechages, semi finals, and finals. View LIVE coverage on SKY TV, or live race tracker, start lists and results available on worldrowing.com.