4 Aug 2012

Golden 24 hours for NZ rowers

10:05 am on 4 August 2012

New Zealand rowers claimed two more gold medals at the 2012 Olympics in London on Friday.

Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won gold in the men's pair at Eton Dorney and Mahe Drysdale matched the feat less than an hour later in the men's single sculls.

The two victories came within 45 minutes of each other.

Bond and Murray were the favourites to win their event after setting a world best time in the heats. They have been unbeaten since 2009.

The pair finished more than four seconds ahead of second placed France while Great Britain finished third.

Murray says the win is an overwhelming sense of achievement, and is more than the pair had hoped for.

Bond says he and Murray have been on tenterhooks all week and he is so pleased they came through.

Drysdale's victory

Drysdale had a closer finish in his race, crossing the line 1.55 seconds ahead of silver medalist Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic.

After a slow start, Drysdale moved into the lead at the halfway stage. At the start of the final quarter, he was ahead of his nearest rival by a boat length.

Through the last 500 metres, Drysdale was able to hold onto his lead, crossing the line half a boat length ahead of Synek.

He says he had nothing left at the end of the race and just had to hold on as Synek closed in.

He describes the race as one of the toughest of his life and says his career was incomplete without the gold medal.

Former Olympic medal-winner says Drysdale's victory is very deserving given his health worries.

Nathan Twaddle won bronze in the pairs with George Bridgewater at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

He says Drysdale has battled on despite being hit by a car while cycling recently, injuring his shoulder and hip, and also dealing with arthritis in his back.

Twaddle says success only comes from perseverance.

Drysdale won bronze in 2008 despite having a stomach bug.

Golden run

Drysdale's gold medal was the third won by the rowing team in little more than 24 hours, making it one of the most successful periods in New Zealand's Olympic history.

The golden run began on Thursday when Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan won the men's double sculls.

Women's double scullers Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer had also been seen as a medal chance on Friday but only managed fifth place.

Great Britain's Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger won the gold in that event.

Earlier, the New Zealand men's quadruple scullers won the event's B final.

The team of Michael Arms, Robbie Manson, John Storey and Matthew Trott beat the Russian team in a time of 5:58.88. The result means they finish their competition in seventh place overall.