World rowing gold for NZ women's pair
Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast have put an Olympic women's pair demotion behind them to claim gold for New Zealand at the rowing world championships.
1 October 2017
Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast have stormed to New Zealand's first gold medal at the rowing world championships, boosting their overall tally to four.
The Kiwis climbed the podium in all three finals entered on Sunday (NZT), the penultimate day in Sarasota, Florida.
With five crews in contention in the last session, they could yet equal their record of nine overall medals at the championship.
There was a tinge of disappointment that Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride couldn't turn a dominant year in the lightweight double sculls into gold, instead finishing runners-up.
Men's pair Jamie Hunter and Tom Murray had been similarly dominant for much of 2017 but had to settle for bronze in an event dominated for nearly a decade by compatriots Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.
It was a form of redemption for Gowler and Prendergast, who won silver at the 2015 world championships in France but were replaced for the following year's Olympics by Rebecca Scown and Genevieve Behrent, who won silver in Rio.
Gowler and Prendergast formed part of the fourth-placed eight in Rio but their combination was restored in the smaller boat this year to winning effect.
Their time of 7 minutes 00.53 seconds was nearly four seconds clear of United States duo Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser, with Denmark third.
"It's been a long week of nerves, so we're really pleased to have got this today," Gowler said.
"We thought it might come down to a sprint at the end, so we went out hard and tried to complete."
The silver claimed by lightweight sculler Matt Dunham on Saturday was matched by Kiddle and McBride, who were third entering the final quarter.
They surged past an American crew but couldn't catch Romanians Ionela-Livia Lehaci and Gianina-Elena Beleaga.
"The last 150m was just tunnel vision, I said to Jackie, go go go," McBride said.
"It was the best race we could have done today."
Hunter and Murray led through the first half of their race but lacked the finishing power of Italian winners Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino, who held out Croatia.
New Zealand's five remaining finalists are in the men's and women's eights and double sculls, along with single sculler Robbie Manson.
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