Two more rowing golds for New Zealand crews

IAN ANDERSON
Last updated 11:41 31/08/2014

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The golden glimmer of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray now glows even brighter.

On yet another memorable day for New Zealand at a world rowing championship regatta, the men's pair remained unbeaten - and still seemingly unbeatable - while collecting their second gold medal of the 2014 world champs in Amsterdam.

The duo - who haven't lost a race since teaming up together in late 2008 - claimed their fifth consecutive coxless pair world title in their traditional dominant style. They were just outside their own world's fastest time (6:08.50) in winning the A final in six minutes 09.34 seconds, heading off the Great Britain pair of James Foad and Matt Langridge by over four seconds, with South Africa's Vincent Breet and Shaun Keeling third.

It was the 19th major victory at Olympic, world champs or World Cup level for the coxless pair combination, extending the mark for an unbeaten boat in the history of world rowing.

Victory came just a day after Bond and Murray teamed up with coxswain Caleb Shepherd to win the coxed pair title while smashing the previous best time for the event when bolstered by a strong tailwind.

It had been 13 years since the men's coxed pair/coxless pair double triumph had last been achieved by the Great Britain duo of Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell. The dual triumph was vindication for the duo who took on a task some thought may prove too onerous as part of their motivation to stay at the top of their game on the way to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Bond and Murray have now won Olympic gold and seven world championship titles - five in the coxless pair, one in the coxed pair and one as part of the coxless four in 2007.

Shortly after their win, the Kiwi lightweight women's double scull combination of Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie stunned a high-class field by winning gold - New Zealand's fourth of the regatta, to go with a bronze, with another day of A finals yet to be contested.

Edward had earlier this season won two World Cup single scull golds in Europe, but few gave her a chance of finishing on top of the podium as part of a new crew.

MacKenzie was a late addition to the senior team, with the Rowing New Zealand selectors opting to add her to the boat when Edwards' regular crewmate Lucy Strack struggled with form and injury earlier this year.

MacKenzie warmed up for Amsterdam by winning gold in the women's lightweight double scull with Zoe McBride at the world under-23 champs in Varese, Italy, last month and the new senior combination instantly hit their straps.

In this morning's final, they timed their race perfectly, winning in a new world's best time of 6:48.56. That put them two second clear of runners-up Canada, with China claiming bronze.

Edward can now claim the two fastest times in this class, having set the previous best mark of 6:09.43 with Louise Ayling in 2012.

The women's pair of Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt took bronze behind Great Britain and the United States. The 2012 Olympic champions Heather Stanning and Helen Glover set a world's best time of 6:50.61, while for Scown it was her sixth world championship medal - to go with an Olympic bronze.

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In the women's quad, the NZ crew of Erin-Monique Shelton, Lucy Spoors, Georgia Perry and Sarah Gray were fifth in their A final while the men's quad were sixth in the B final.

Four NZ boats will compete in the remaining A finals starting late tonight (NZ time).

Single scullers Emma Twigg and Mahe Drysdale will chase gold in their respective events, as will the women's double scull crew of Zoe Stevenson and Fiona Bourke and the men's lightweight four.

- Stuff

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