5 Sep 2015

Double gold for NZ rowers

6:56 am on 5 September 2015

The New Zealand team have claimed two gold medals on the first day of finals at the World Rowing Championships in France.

The New Zealand lightweight single sculler Zoe McBride.

The New Zealand lightweight single sculler Zoe McBride. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The men's and women's lightweight single scullers Adam Ling and Zoe McBride both won their non-Olympic events.

The two golds capped off a day in which four other New Zealand crews advanced to their finals, qualifying for next year's Rio Olympics in the process.

That adds to the three spots secured earlier in the week taking the total number of New Zealand boats qualified for the 2016 Games to seven.

Ling biding his time, gradually worked his way to the front of the field in a nail biting final and looked strong as he overhauled Serbia and held off a challenge from Slovenia to win gold.

The New Zealand lightweight sculler has had a steep rise this year finishing 13th at the second world cup, winning bronze at the third world cup and capping off his year with a World Championship title.

After the race Adam said, "I went out as hard as I wanted to and then got into a really nice rhythm. I knew I had a sprint at the end so just had to sit within a length - in the last 100 metres I was just praying. Winning the World Champs is the pinnacle, it has put me in a really good frame of mind to chase down an Olympic spot next year."

McBride capped off a perfect season including two world cup wins in the lightweight single, a world best time and an U23 world title in the women's lightweight double with a World Championship title to boot.

McBride produced a stellar race leading start to finish to claim gold.

She was elated with her win, "I'm literally on top of the world, to top of this amazing season with this - it's everything I've wanted and more. I just wanted to do exactly what I always do and go out there, have control and be calm. Right from the start I felt so good, I was able to get an early lead and then just hang onto it."

The women's double of Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane were the first semi-final of the day and looked unstoppable as they worked their way into the lead finishing confidently and taking out first place.

This ensures they claim their spot in the A final and in doing so, gain Olympic qualification.

The men's double scullers Chris Harris and Robbie Manson hung onto reigning world champions, Croatia, at the front of the field and after a sprint for the line grabbed third ensuring they move through to the A final and also gain Olympic qualification.

In the men's lightweight four the New Zealanders chased Denmark down the course maintaining second place throughout until they were pipped in the sprint for the line by the Netherlands.

The New Zealand crew finished third but still secured a spot in the A final.

The result successfully seals an Olympic spot for New Zealand in the men's lightweight four for the first time in history.

Olympic champion single sculler Mahe Drysdale looked strong in his race, winning in style and laying down the fastest time of the two semi-finals.

Having claimed his spot in the A final and secured Olympic qualification, he will be chasing his sixth world title in the single scull.

Today's racing kicks off with the men's quad B final up first and a total of eight crews in action.

The crews racing in A finals are the women's pair, men's pair, women's lightweight double and women's quad while three New Zealand crews will also race in the C finals.