Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler – World Rowing Championship gold medallists in the pair and eight – have been presented the FISA (World Rowing) Female Crew of the Year Award with their coach, Gary Hay, securing the FISA Coach of the Year Award.
There is little doubt that Grace and Kerri – the world’s number one and two ranked female rowers in 2019 – are deserving recipients of the FISA Crew of the Year.
After winning two golds and one silver during the World Rowing Cup campaign, the duo then dazzled at the World Rowing Championships, striking gold in the pair and also helping New Zealand claim an historic first women’s world title in the eight.
Grace said: “I am really honoured to receive the award as it is very hard to distinguish the merits of one crew from another. It is a bit of a surprise, but I’m very happy.”
Sir Mark Todd was humbled and appreciative of the many who had travelled from far and wide to celebrate his tremendous eventing career at EQUITANA Auckland’s A Night to Remember.
“It was just wonderful to see everyone,” said Sir Mark who was joined on stage by former team mates, horse owners and others who had played an important part in a career that had spanned four decades. “It is very humbling to have everyone say such nice things.”
Those who couldn’t make it sent videos, including top British riders Mary King and William Fox-Pitt as well as top New Zealand eventers Tim and Jonelle Price and others. Joining him on the stage were former team mates Blyth Tait, Tinks Pottinger, Jock Paget, Clarke Johnstone and others.
The hockey pools have been confirmed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with the men’s and women’s New Zealand Black Sticks set to face some tough competition.
The Men’s Black Sticks will face current world number 1s Australia as well as Spain, India, Japan and Argentina in their pool.
The Women’s Black Sticks will take on current world number 1s The Netherlands as well as Ireland, Germany, India, Great Britain and South Africa in their pool.
The Blackjacks are taking home one gold, two silver and two bronze medals from the Multi Nations tournament on the Gold Coast.
The new-look New Zealand men’s triple of Ali Forsyth (skip), Andrew Kelly and Chris Le Lievre provided the highlight, capping an unbeaten run with an enthralling 16-12 win over Australia in their final at the Broadbeach Bowls Club.
“Really satisfying to put a decent performance in there and cherry on top it’s Australia,” Forsyth said.
“The bounce back for Chris and I after a disappointing couple of days in the fours was pretty pleasing and…to stay unbeaten is a great result.”
“When we do click we are a pretty hard machine to stop.”
Jo Edwards (skip) and Tayla Bruce came agonisingly close to securing the Blackjacks a second gold in the women’s pairs.
Australia Green needed an extra end to beat New Zealand in the final, after the scores had finished level at 12-all after regulation.
In the end the script was written for opposition skip Karen Murphy, who won the match with a drive in what was the final trans-Tasman meeting of her decorated career.
Gary Lawson (skip) and Jamie Hill also had to settle for silver in the men’s pairs, going down 17-12 to Canada in the final.
The New Zealand women’s triple and four both claimed bronze medals to finish their week’s on a high.
Construction at two Tokyo 2020 venues is nearing completion eight months before the start of the Olympics, as preparations for the Games enter the final stretch on schedule.
The Tokyo Aquatics Centre, which will host swimming and diving at the Games, is 90 percent complete, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and is on schedule to be finished at the end of February.
Above: The Tokyo Aquatics CentreTokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games Kerri Gowler Grace Prendergast