Drysdale, Murray & Bond take gold as Kiwis shin again
Drysdale, Murray and Bond take gold as Kiwis shin again in Bled
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond repelled a strong challenge from arch rivals Peter Reed and Andrew Triggs of Great Britain to take their third straight world title and Mahe Drysdale reclaimed the world title - his fifth - in the single scull in an epic day for New Zealand at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia
The country also returned to the sharp end of the women's double sculling field for the first time since the Evers Swindell twins won in Beijing with a superb bronze medal for Anna Reymer and Fi Paterson.
Murray and Bond took the lead almost immediately the field settled and committed to a big middle 1,000 metres, where their lead stretched to as much as two lengths. But the British had held something in reserve and attacked hard in the final 500 metres, forcing a full on defence by the Kiwis.
At the line Murray and Bond held on to win by just under a length, not quite the nail biter of Lake Karapiro, but the second fastest men's pair's race of all time just four tenths off the record held by Matthew Pinsent and Steve Redgrave. It was also the 14th straight win against the British.
Mahe Drysdale was back to his best as he rowed through early leader Alan Campbell and current champion Ondrej Synek leaving Lassi Karonen, Marcel Hacker and Olaf Tufte in his wake. He took the lead and started to move away, taking Synek with him. With 250 metres to go, Synek made a strong challenge but Drysdale produced a robust defence and kept him at bay by about half a length. Gold number four for New Zealand with one day still to go at the regatta.
Anna Reymer and Fi Paterson capped a great first season together with an outstanding bronze medal in the women's double sculls. The British duo of Vernon and Grainger have been dominant, but New Zealand and the Australians stayed in touch throughout, and once again it was the Kiwi sprint that was most effective - bringing the girls close to a silver. Great Britain won, with Australia second.
There is no disgrace in finishing fourth in a race where the whole field is covered by two seconds, but that was the incredible race that was the men's quadruple scull B final. Five places up for grabs for London meant that all crews had to avoid finishing last and it was neck and neck throughout the race and even closer inside the last 300 metres. Robbie Manson, Matthew Trott, Steve Cottle and John Storey sealed Olympic qualification with fourth after a very promising but frustrating regatta.
The men's four have had a similarly frustrating time. After losing bow man Carl Meyer earlier through injury, the crew looked to have lost nothing with Jade Uru on board, the bronze medallist from Karapiro easing seamlessly into the Meyer's seat.
Their semi final produced another fourth, and another close result with the first four covered by just a few metres. The Kiwis fought back well throughout the race after a slow start that left them bringing up the rear at 500 metres. With five to qualify for London in the B final, they face the same scenario as the men's quad - avoid last place in what will be a super competitive field.
The lightweight women's double scull of Louise Ayling and Lucy Strack continued to gain momentum with a brilliant semi final race to second place and an A final start, with London qualification also achieved. They stormed through Great Britain in the final 500 metres and went after the fast starting Greeks who led throughout, narrowing the margin to first to just half a length at the line.
Another close semi final in the men's lightweight double sculls saw Storm Uru and Pete Taylor win and notch up another A final start and Olympic entry for New Zealand. The race behind them for second and third kept the pressure on the Kiwis throughout, with the final margin a win for Uru and Taylor by a boat length from Germany and Italy, with France missing out in fourth.
Emma Twigg followed suit with a comfortable second place in her semi final finishing behind Mirka Knapkova. Cautious out of the start, she worked her way to second by half way with Annekatrin Thiele of Germany remaining in close contact in third.
With no more semi finals and only the B final of the fours race to decide Olympic places still available for the Kiwi team, New Zealand has a record eleven boats qualified for the London Olympics so far.
Results here http://www.worldrowing.com/live-results