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World Rowing Champs underway

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

It was business as usual for the New Zealand rowing crews on the opening day of the 2013 World Championships in Chungu, Korea. All of the New Zealand crews competing on day one looked fully acclimatised to the hot and humid conditions. The New Zealand team has been in Korea for nearly two weeks in preparation for these World Championships.

Duncan Grant in the lightweight single was the first New Zealand crew to progress through to the next round at the world championship regatta. Grant moves through to quarter finals after finishing third in his heat in 7:15.68. Grant was led by scullers from Portugal and Mexico.

Women’s lightweight single sculler Louise Ayling safely claimed her spot in the A/B semi-finals as she pushed herself past the Korean sculler in the last 500m to take second place.

The women’s pair of Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt are safely through to the A/B semi-final after placing in second behind the crew from the Netherlands in the heats.

Pratt said "There are little things to work on for the semi-final, but otherwise the race went to plan. It would be awesome to get on the podium, but you’ve got to get through the semi first. Everyone has really stepped up - it is really different racing to the world cups."

The men’s pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray looked very comfortable in their heat and left nothing to chance, taking the win with clearwater in a time of 6:32.70 ahead of the Great Britain pair who were back in 6:46.15. The kiwi pair head to the A/B semi-final.

Eric Murray commented on their dominating heats performance, "The race pretty much went to plan, with a top placing needed to progress, the first step was establishing ourselves in the race. We aimed to be as efficient as possible, it is never easy, but the more efficient you are the better. We have a few more gears up our sleeves depending on the pressure that comes at us, but we will take it race by race."

Lightweight women’s double scull of Julia Edward and Lucy Strack finished second in 7:08.26 just a whisker behind the Great Britain double who clocked in a time of 7:07.23. They progress to the A/B semi-final.

Strack on their heats race said "The conditions were tough, it was hot out there, no clouds, lower humidity and the sun was beating down on us. It was different conditions to what we have experienced in the last few weeks. We had a good first 1km, it was a close finish and they just got us in the last 500m. It is good to get the first race out of the way, we have a few days to fine tune some aspects."

The men’s four stroked by Bobby Kells was at the back of the field, placing fourth in their heat in 6:12.10. The New Zealanders finished behind the Serbians who pulled the foot off the accelerator finishing in 6:10.34. The Australians held the lead for much of the race, they finished in 6:02.84 but a strong challenge came from Belarus who crossed behind in 6:04.17. The New Zealand four will head to a repechage.

The women’s quad finished in 5th in their heat, they were ten seconds back from the first placed crew from Germany, who are the only crew heading directly to the A final. All other crews will have another chance to make the final in the repechages.

In the men’s quad only the top two placed crews from the heat progressed to the semi-finals with Great Britain and Estonia claiming those spots in classy style. The New Zealand quad was back to fifth position in 6:01.65.

Mahe Drysdale pushed through the discomfort from his recent bike accident to take a win in his heat in 7:02.07. Drysdale got his bow in front of the scullers from Romania and Hungary just past the half way marker. He now progresses through the quarter-final in what was a positive showing from him in his first international hit out since the Olympic Games.

The conditions at the lake were flat and calm and an early morning haze burnt off with athletes facing heat and humidity in their heats races.

Crews racing heats tomorrow include the men’s double scull, women’s double scull, lightweight men’s four, women’s eight and the women’s single scull.

The 2013 World Rowing Championships regatta started today and runs until 1 September 2013 at the Tangeum International Rowing Regatta venue. New Zealand crews are contesting 14 out of 27 boat classes.

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