Kiwi crews off to perfect start at World Champs

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 08:09 25/08/2014
Emma Twigg
PETER DRURY/ Fairfax NZ
CHAMPION ROWER: Emma Twigg.

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New Zealand boats made the perfect start to the world rowing championships in Amsterdam early today.

All eight Kiwi boats in action advanced directly to the next round on the first day of heats, with several encouraging performances.

The New Zealand men's pairs combination of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray made the ideal start to their quest for two gold medals at the regatta.

They comfortably won their heat with a time of 6 minutes 22.28 seconds - more than 3 seconds quicker than the second-placed Argentinian crew. Great Britain recorded the fastest heat time of 6:20.63.

The pair's victory put them in the semifinal and ensured they avoided a repechage that would have added to a taxing schedule over the week-long regatta.

Bond and Murray, who have collected four consecutive world championship titles in the pair - along with Olympic gold - in a world-record unbeaten run, were also chasing gold in the coxed pair with coxswain Caleb Shepherd in Amsterdam.

The trio would race their coxed-pair heat tomorrow morning, again looking for a win to ensure they will contest the minimum number of races in their quest to capture both titles.

TWIGG GOES TOP

Women's single sculler Emma Twigg was bidding in Amsterdam to complete the perfect season with a world championship gold.

She won all three World Cup titles this year and was never in doubt of advancing to the quarterfinals this morning. She won her heat in 7:32.77, with the top four scullers avoiding the repechage system.

Twigg was almost 10sec faster than Tatsiana Klimovich, of Belarus, while Australian rival and defending world champ Kim Crow set the fastest heat time of 7:24.42.

MAGNIFICENT MAHE

At the event, Mahe Drysdale was in pursuit of his sixth world championship men's single scull crown.

The 35-year-old was under no pressure in his opening race of the week with the top four from the six-strong field going through to the quarters. Drysdale won his heat in 6:50.72, almost seven seconds ahead of Mexico.

Mindaugas Griskonis, of Lithuania, had the fastest time of the heats in 6:43.72 while Drysdale's great rival, Ondrej Synek, of the Czech Republic, won his heat in a time almost identical to Drysdale's.

NEW PAIRING

New women's lightweight double scull partners Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie showed plenty of promise in winning their heat today to head into the semifinals.

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Edward won the last two World Cup lightweight single scull titles before teaming up with MacKenzie - winner of gold at the world under-23 champs in Italy this year - for Amsterdam. The double's time of 6:52.31 was 4sec quicker than that of second-placed Italy and only just behind South Africa's as the best of all the qualifiers.

QUADS

The Kiwi women's quad of Erin-Monique O'Brien, Lucy Spoors, Georgia Perry and Sarah Gray were second behind Germany in their heat in a competitive time of 6:14.66, with the first three finishers directly qualifying for the semifinals.

The men's quad of Chris Harris, Nathan Flannery, John Storey and Jade Uru also finished second in their heat as the top two crews advanced to the semis with the remainder facing a repechage. The New Zealand combination were just behind heat winners Estonia in 5:40.13 and had more than 6sec to spare over third-placed Switzerland.

PAIR AND DOUBLE

In the women's pair, Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt were another Kiwi crew to finish second in their heat. The pair were headed off by South Africa and recorded a handy of 7:05.51 as the first three finishers advanced directly to the semifinals.

The lightweight men's double scull crew of Adam Ling and Alistair Bond did just enough to make the top four teams that moved on to the quarterfinals, with a time of 6:29.58 in their heat.

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