The glamour New Zealand men’s pair of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray powered into the Olympic final with an impressive performance today.

Bond and Murray, the defending Olympic champions, won their heat in 6min 22.36s, four seconds ahead of second-placed Great Britain. The other men’s pair heat was won by Italy, but two seconds slower than the New Zealanders managed.

Both New Zealand’s single scullers looked assured in booking their semi-final spots.

Mahe Drysdale, the defending champion, won his heat in 6min 46.51s, four seconds ahead of long-time rival Ondrej Synek.

Drysdale said he was pleased to get through the quarter-finals. “There’s not a lot to gain but everything to lose at that stage,” he said. “It’s good to have them out of the way.”

And Emma Twigg was equally classy, winning her heat in 7min 31.79s, more than five seconds ahead of second-placed Miroslava Knapkova.

“I was having a nice little battle with Knapkova until about 750 metres and then we came into bubbly water and I dealt with it better,” she said. “The conditions certainly suit us Kiwis better.” She said it was nice to have a little mental advantage of Knapkova, though the big racing was still to come.

The New Zealand men’s lightweight four of James Lassche, Peter Taylor, Alistair Bond and James Hunter were third in their semi-final and therefore qualified for the final. They were timed at 6min 08.96s, and had a cushion of more than a second over the fourth-placed Great Britain team.

There wasn’t such good news for women’s double scullers Eve Macfarlane and Zoe Stevenson, the world champions, who were fourth when only the top three progressed to the final. The New Zealand women were heartbreakingly close to going through. Their time was 6min 52.97s, only 0.05s behind the third-placed Americans after they lost a frantic sprint to the line.

Men’s double scullers Robbie Manson and Chris Harris also missed out. They were fourth in 6min 17.01s, but were more than three seconds behind the third place-getters Great Britain.

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Mahe Drysdale Emma Twigg Hamish Bond Eric Murray Eve Macfarlane Zoe Stevenson Robbie Manson Chris Harris James Lassche Peter Taylor Alistair Bond James Hunter Rowing
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