5 Sep 2011

More success for NZ rowers at world champs

9:07 am on 5 September 2011

A silver medal for the men's lightweight double scull and a bronze for Emma Twigg brought New Zealand's final medal count at the World Rowing Championships in Slovenia to nine, with 12 crews qualifying for next year's Olympics.

The race on Sunday between Storm Uru and Peter Taylor, the 2009 lightweight double scull world champions, and Olympic and current world champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter of Great Britain was so tight it required a photo finish.

The New Zealand crew came up just centimetres short of gold, finishing in second place.

Emma Twigg took the lead in the women's single scull at the 500 metre mark, building a clear water lead over the next 800 metres.

She was passed in the final 400 metres by Mirka Knapkova and Ekaterina Karsten, and after a strong fight had to settle for a second consecutive world championship bronze.

In the women's lightweight double sculls, Louise Ayling and Lucy Strack finished sixth in their first A final. The pair had already qualified for London.

The men's four completed a solid regatta with second place in a hotly contested B final and an eighth place ranking, booking their tickets to London in the process.

On Saturday, single sculler Mahe Drysdale reclaimed his world title and Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won their third straight gold medal in the men's pair.

New Zealand ended the championships with nine medals - four gold, one silver and four bronze - putting it third equal with Germany and Italy on the medal table. Britain topped the table with 14 medals and Australia was second with 10.

Twelve New Zealand crews will be at next year's London Games, a record number for New Zealand. They include the adaptive men's single scull rower who will compete in the paralympics.