Gold gets Gowler to Amsterdam

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 30/07/2014
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BRIGHT FUTURE: Kerri Gowler.

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Manawatu rower Kerri Gowler will compete at the world championships in Amsterdam next month after all.

She and Grace Prendergast (Avon, Christchurch) had romped to a gold-medal win by 13 seconds in the coxless pair at the under-23 worlds in Italy on Sunday to put the pressure on Rowing New Zealand.

They have since announced Gowler and Prendergast will be part of an additional crew at Amsterdam, a coxless four including two former non-travelling reserves, Kelsey Bevan and Kayla Pratt.

Rowing NZ could hardly ignore Gowler and Prendergast. They broke the world under-23 record by three seconds on Sunday and had beaten the elite New Zealand pair by six seconds in the World Cup at Lucerne recently.

The wins by the under-23 crew over the elite crew of Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt in training now add up to about a dozen - which is why Gowler was surprised she was put in the new four when she and Prendergast were clearly the fastest pairs boat.

Gowler's father Brent said it was exciting that she would get to row on the biggest stage.

"They will get the same funding as the other crew, which will take some of the pressure off."

He had hoped Rowing NZ would put the fastest boat in the pair.

Rowing NZ high performance manager Alan Cotter said on its website that the selectors were impressed with the under-23 pair and the two reserve athletes' progress and felt it was fair to give them an opportunity at the elite level. It is a non-Olympic event.

"It stands us in good stead just over two years out from the Rio Olympics and through to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games," Cotter said.

"Grace and Kerri's main focus previous to this announcement has been to win gold at the under-23 world championships and their efforts now switch to Amsterdam. They only found out about the selectors' decision, as we wanted to ensure they focused on their performance at this event."

They have four weeks training in Hazewinkel, Belgium, to form the new crew combination.

Hamish Bond and Eric Murray will aim for their fifth world title in the men's pair and their 19th consecutive international win.

Gowler's sister Jackie (Nga Tawa College) left on Monday for the world junior championships in Hamburg in the coxless four, and then the Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, where she will row in the pair.

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- Manawatu Standard

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