A landmark achievement looms on the waters in South Korea for Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
The seemingly-unbeatable duo maintained their impeccable record at the world rowing championships in Chungju today with another dominant victory in the second men's pair semifinal.
The Kiwis eased down over the latter stages to head home France and The Netherlands in a winning time of six minutes 14.6 seconds to advance to Saturday's final.
Should the duo win their final as expected, it will be their 16th successive title at world championship, World Cup and Olympic Games level, which will give them a world record for longest winning streak.
Their victory helped add to some brighter news finally for the New Zealand team as three crews made A finals.
The Kiwi women's pair of Kayla Pratt and Rebecca Scown also advanced to the A final on Saturday with a third placing in their semifinal behind gold medal favourites Helen Glover and Polly Swann of Great Britain and the United States.
Pratt and Scown have already collected two silver medals at World Cup regattas this year at Eton Dorney and Lucerne, finishing behind Swann and Glover on each occasion and rowed an impressive last 1000m to close on the top two crews.
The women's lightweight double sculls crew of Lucy Strack and Julia Edward also made their A final by finishing third in their semifinal.
The Kiwi combination were behind clear winners Italy and second-placed United States to qualify for Saturday's final.
However, Kiwi women's lightweight single sculler Louise Ayling missed out on making the A final when she was fifth in her heat, with the first three scullers (Austria, Greece and Belarus) qualifying for tomorrow's final.
Ayling won silver in this event at Lake Karapiro in 2010, was sixth in the lightweight double sculls with Strack in 2011 and third in the B final in the lightweight double with Edward at last year's London Olympics.
The New Zealand team had suffered two disappointing days on Tuesday and Wednesday at the regatta, highlighted by five-times world champion men's single sculler Mahe Drysdale failing to make the semifinals.
Drysdale today pulled out of contesting the C/D semifinals of the men's single sculls, citing a fractured rib suffered in a cycling training accident in Chungju last week.
''I tried everything to get back on the water today and it is the first time I've had to withdraw from a regatta,'' he said.
''It is not an ideal start to a new Olympic cycle.
''I've been trying to manage the injury and was unable to row after the heat, but thankfully had two days to recover. The tough quarterfinal yesterday has meant I'm unable to back up another performance today.
''If I had another day to rest I probably could've raced. I'm extremely disappointed that my world champs has finished this way, but I'm looking forward to being back on the podium in 2014,'' Drysdale said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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