18 Nov 2016

Olympic rowing champions to take a year off

1:02 pm on 18 November 2016

Olympic rowing champions Mahe Drysdale, Hamish Bond and Eric Murray are to take a year off from the sport.

Drysdale, a two-time Olympic single sculls champion, intends to return to the rowing programme after that break and is aiming to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Eric Murray, Hamish Bond and Mahe Drysdale won't be part of the New Zealand's international rowing programme in 2017.

Rio gold medallists Eric Murray, Hamish Bond and Mahe Drysdale. Photo: Photosport

The unbeaten pair of Bond and Murray won't compete as a combination in 2017.

Murray will resume training after minor knee surgery but will be unavailable for international competition during 2017, while Bond will take a twelve month break.

The Olympic silver-medal winning women's pair of Rebecca Scown and Genevieve Behrent is also set to part ways, with Behrent taking a year off while Scown resumes training with the summer squad.

Other athletes pressing pause include Zoe Stevenson, two-time world champion in the women's double sculls. Stevenson's crewmate Eve Macfarlane has also chosen to take a year-long break.

Beijing 2008 medallist George Bridgewater will take a year off from international competition.

Rowing New Zealand high performance director Alan Cotter said: "All the athletes that are taking a break have made a huge contribution to our sport and have our support to take a short break before launching into the 2020 Tokyo campaign.

"They have worked extremely hard over a number of years to achieve their results."

The return to rowing for each athlete who is taking time off will be confirmed at a later date.

Upon return athletes will attend Rowing Performance Centre selection trials in September 2017.