Kiwis claim six golds at world rowing champs

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 12:55 28/07/2014
Sophie Mackenzie
Getty Images

WINNING COMBINATION: Zoe McBride and Sophie MacKenzie won gold in the women's lightweight double sculls.

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The men's eight successfully defended their title at the world under-23 rowing championships in Italy today to indicate New Zealand has an encouraging future in the sport's pinnacle event.

After breezing through qualifying on Lake Varese, the Kiwis were rarely troubled in the final event of the programme as they held Australia and the United States at bay to claim back-to-back titles in a time of 5 minutes 28.820 seconds - a victory that enabled New Zealand to top the overall medal count.

Lifting their stroke rate to 44 over the final quarter of the 2000-metre journey propelled the combination of Stephen Jones, Brook Robertson, Alex Kennedy, Joe Wright, Finn Howard, Shaun Kirkham, Isaac Grainger, Tom Murray and Caleb Shepherd (cox) to the line ahead of Australia (5:30.450) with comparative ease.

The women's lightweight double sculls of Zoe McBride and Sophie MacKenzie matched the earlier deeds of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast in the pair to win gold after controlling their heat, semi and final.

McBride, a bronze medallist in this event last year, and MacKenzie - who next combines with Julia Edward in the lightweight double scull at next month's world championships in Amsterdam - obliterated their opposition to win in 6:59.370, 4secs clear of the Romanian duo.

New Zealand also set the only new world record at the regatta when Gowler and Prendergast secured the country's first gold among a haul of six medals.

The United States also claimed three golds but New Zealand's two silvers placed them ahead of the Americans on the ladder.

In other final day action lightweight sculler Jackie Kiddle was fourth in her final, 2secs outside the bronze medal.

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