Rowers Hamish Bond, Eric Murray strike gold
The New Zealand men's pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray sent another emphatic warning to their struggling rivals when winning gold at the third and final World Cup regatta of the season at Lucerne, Switzerland, on Sunday night (NZT).
Bond and Murray have yet to be beaten since teaming up in 2009 and the two-times defending world champions are well on track for a third successive crown.
They destroyed a classy field, heading home the Great Britain crew of Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs Hodge who were just pipped by the Kiwis for gold at last year's world champs at Lake Karapiro by a massive margin of 6.40 seconds.
New Zealand also grabbed gold in the lightweight men's double sculls final when the duo of Peter Taylor and Storm Uru comfortably headed home Italy and Denmark.
The reigning world champion New Zealand women's pair crew of Rebecca Scown and Juliette Haigh were upset by the Great Britain duo of Heather Stanning and Helen Glover. The victors raced out to a huge lead after 500 metres but had to stave off a fierce late challenge by the Kiwis to win by 0.66 seconds with New Zealand gaining silver.
Single scullers Mahe Drysdale and Emma Twigg were to contest their finals early Monday morning (NZT), along with the defending world champion men's double sculls crew of Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen. Both the Kiwi men's and women's quad sculls crews were also to race their A finals as New Zealand battled Great Britain for regatta supremacy.
The Kiwi men's four of Ben Hammond, Chris Harris, James Dallinger and Carl Meyer shared fifth spot in their final while the New Zealand combination of Anna Reymer and Fiona Paterson were sixth and last in the women's double sculls A final won by Great Britain.
New Zealand's Lucy Strack and Louise Ayling won their lightweight women's double sculls B final but the Kiwi men's eight was a disappointing fourth in their B final and have work to do if they want to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics at the world championships starting in Bled, Slovenia, late next month.