Rowers get among the medals

Tom Murray, left, and Michael Brake picked up a silver medal in the hotly-contested men’s pair. Photo: Rowing NZ.

Marlborough-based rowers bagged two medals at the world rowing championships which concluded on Sunday night [NZ time].

Tom Murray, from the Blenheim club, added a world championship silver medal to his growing collection in Linz, Austria on Saturday while Ella Greenslade, affiliated to the Wairau club, was part of the first-ever gold medal-winning NZ women’s eight.

Murray and his North Shore crewmate Michael Brake finished second in the men’s pair final in Linz, clearly the second best boat on the course behind the highly-decorated Sinkovic brothers from Croatia.

Murray and Brake made their traditional unspectacular start, slipping into second place by the 500m mark. They utilised a steady stroke rate to move clear of Australia and Italy who finished third and fourth respectively, but could make little headway on the Croats who prevailed by just over a boat length at the finish.

Murray said after the race, “that wasn’t really our game plan – Croatia raced their best, we did what we came here to do today but it wasn’t enough.”

In 2107 Murray, alongside Jamie Hunter, won the pairs bronze medal at the world champs in USA, while last year he and Brake finished fourth in Bulgaria.

Greenslade and the eight underlined the strong form they had shown in their heat to dominate the final, taking the lead after the 1500m mark and holding on.

Qualifying their respective boats for the forthcoming Tokyo Olympics was a dual purpose of the Kiwi rowers, with two other Marlborough athletes managing to do that despite not medalling.

On the final day of racing, single sculler Robbie Manson staged a remarkable last-to-first finish in the final 1000m of the B final, winning the race and qualifying the Kiwi boat for the Olympics. Manson finished second in his heat and quarterfinal races, but slipped to fourth position in his A/B semifinal, relegating him to the B final where he redeemed his earlier showing by claiming one of the three Tokyo qualifying spots available outside those boats in the A final.

The women’s quad, with Wairau’s Kirstyn Goodyer on board, finished fifth in the A final and also qualified their boat for Tokyo.

Harrison Somerville, from the Blenheim club, and Matt Dunham in the NZ lightweight men’s double, finished fifth in the B final, needing victory to qualify the boat class for the Tokyo Olympics.

Ian Seymour, from the Wairau club, was part of the NZ men’s four crew who came home second in the C final.

New Zealand won four golds and two silvers overall.

The lightweight women’s double of Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride were comfortable winners of their final, while the women’s pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler prevailed in a much tighter finish. They were both part of the victorious Kiwi eight. The women’s double of Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue won gold on the final day, while single sculler Emma Twigg finished with silver.

Nine New Zealand boat classes have now qualified for Tokyo – the women’s eight, men’s single and men’s double, women’s single, women’s pair, women’s double, lightweight women’s double, women’s quad and men’s pair. Nine of New Zealand’s 16 crews made A finals.

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