NZ rowers make soild start at World Champs

NZ rowers make soild start at World Champs photo NZ rowers make soild start at World Champs

New Zealand’s audacious bid to qualify in all 14 classes at the Rio Olympics has got off to a sound start at the rowing world championships in Aiguebelette, France.

Britain’s James Foad and Matt Langridge brushed off Romania in the second half of their men’s pair heat to win, while Imogen Walsh completely controlled her lightweight women’s single scull heat as Will Fletcher and Richard Chambers – the latter a London 2012 silver medallist in the lightweight men’s four – won in the lightweight double sculls.

“The GB Rowing Team is “ready to go” and looking forward to taking on the best in the World, fresh from our finishing training camps”, he said.

Britain was another country to enjoy a strong start with Olympic champion Helen Glover and Heather Stanning extending their four-year unbeaten streak with a comfortable victory over South Africa in their double sculls head.

Murray and Bond were never threatened, heading off Spanish rivals by more than six seconds.

Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale produced a quick time of 6:49.05 in the men’s single and progressed through to the quarter-finals untroubled.

Both the men’s and women’s coxless pairs cruised through day one with Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast flying out of the blocks to win their heat and progress to the semi finals while Eric Murray and Hamish Bond showed their winning form in their heat to progress to the quarter finals.

Female single sculler Fiona Bourke, competing in place of absent 2014 victor Emma Twigg, won her single sculls opener.

They were among five New Zealand heat winners while four others also booked automatic semi-final berths. The crew of Karl Manson, John Storey, George Bridgewater and Jade Uru were third at the halfway stage but stormed past the US and nearly pipped the Swiss as the top two avoided the repechages.

The lightweight men’s double of Peter Taylor and Hayden Cohen were locked in a battle with Germany and China but in finishing third secured their spot in the quarter finals.

On the opening day of competition on Sunday five out of 11 Australian crews at the event qualified for the quarter-finals or semi-finals.

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