Double sculls gold on final day
The New Zealand Elite Rowing team has wrapped up the 2017 World Rowing Championships with three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
The final day of racing saw New Zealand claim both double sculls world titles with Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe winning the women’s event and John Storey and Chris Harris taking gold in the men’s, and the women’s eight winning bronze.
Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe scored the first gold medal of the day and their first world championship title with an outstanding win in the women’s double sculls.
The double, coached by James Coote, raced an impeccable race against vastly experienced crews to take the win in 6:45.08 ahead of the USA’s Meghan O’Leary and Ellen Tomek and Australia’s Olympia Aldersey and Madeleine Edmunds.
Donoghue and Loe moved into the lead by 1000 metres and held off the field as the USA and Australia battled for silver.
With less than 500 metres to go they had an open water advantage but home favourites O’Leary and Tomek were closing in fast, furiously sprinting for the line.
Donoghue and Loe held their own to shut out the Americans and take the gold medal with O’Leary and Tomek settling for silver and Aldersey and Edmunds claiming bronze.
“We’re really excited, really proud of ourselves.” said stroke Olivia Low following the race.
“We wanted to get out ahead and made sure that no one could pass us in the last 750m. It’s a great start for our career and for the Olympic cycle.”
John Storey and Chris Harris won the second gold of the day in a tight men’s double sculls final.
Storey and Harris, coached by Calvin Ferguson, led from the gun but then faced a tough challenge from the rest of the field in a gripping race.
Slowest qualifiers Filippo Mondelli and Luca Rombaldi of Italy ensured the New Zealanders wouldn’t get away without a fight, launching a blistering attack with Poland’s Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup also pushing the pace.
In an incredible sprint finish Storey and Harris forced their bow ahead to take the gold medal in a time of 6:10.07, with Poland just 0.5 seconds behind to claim silver and Italy third.
“I didn’t know where I was in that last stretch, I just had my eyes closed.” said John Storey.
“This is like a dream come true. It’s an insane boat class. Every crew has stepped up into this field. Throughout the race, there was no settling in to a rhythm, we just stuck to our game plan and went for it at the end.”
The women’s eight of Emma Dyke, Lucy Spoors, Rebecca Scown, Kelsi Walters, Kelsey Bevan, Georgia Perry, Ashlee Rowe, Ruby Tew and cox Sam Bosworth claimed a bronze medal in a nail biting final.
A fast race was on the cards with fastest qualifiers Romania, New Zealand and powerhouse USA with their 11-year world champion and Olympic winning streak all chasing gold.
The black boat made a strong start alongside Romania and Great Britain. Great Britain couldn’t hack the pace and dropped through the field as Canada launched their attack and USA dug deep to chase.
With Romania hanging on to their lead the battle for second and third fired up and came down to a sprint finish as New Zealand desperately tried to fight off the charging Canadians.
On the line less than a second separated the top three with Romania taking gold in 6:06.40, Canada silver and New Zealand bronze in 6:07.27.
Robbie Manson took fifth place in a tough men’s single sculls final.
The superstar line up included Olympian Angel Fournier Rodriguez of Cuba, Olympic medallist Damir Martin and Rio bronze medallist Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic.
Manson, who is coached by Noel Donaldson, couldn’t find the same power that led him to set the world best time earlier in the year, sitting in fourth place for much of the race.
Ondrej Synek took a sensational win with Fournier-Rodriguez claiming silver and the young Briton Thomas Barras holding off Damir Martin for bronze.
The men’s eight had to settle for sixth place in an absolutely blistering A final.
Stephen Jones, Brook Robertson, Michael Brake, Shaun Kirkham, Isaac Grainger, Paddy McInnes, Drikus Conradie, James Lassche and cox Caleb Shepherd lined up against world best time holders Germany and powerful Italian and American crews.
The black boat had an excellent start and looked confident as they challenged front runners Germany, with USA and Italy also driving the pace in a tight first half.
By 1250 metres though the New Zealanders were running out of gas as the USA and Italy both launched blistering attacks to push ahead, with the Netherlands and Romania also winding their rate up.
New Zealand couldn’t match the flying pace and faded to sixth as Germany took gold, and USA outsprinted Italy for silver.
Hannah Osborne took second place in the women’s single sculls B final.
Osborne rowed a well-timed race, moving from fourth to second to finish behind Olympian Felice Mueller of the USA, with London silver medallist Fie Udby Erichsen of Denmark taking third.
The 2017 World Rowing Championships marks the end of the season for the New Zealand Elite Rowing Team with crews now taking some time off before trials and summer squad resumes later in the year.
Full results online at worldrowing.com