New Zealand men’s rowing eight qualifies for Tokyo Olympics
17 May, 2021, 10:30 am
The New Zealand men’s rowing eight is off to the Tokyo Olympics – and in the hunt for a medal.
Needing a top-two finish in their field of four at the Olympic qualifying regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, the Kiwi crew won the final on Sunday night (NZ time) to book their spot for the Games starting in July.
The crew, which features two-time Olympics champion in the pair, Hamish Bond, will now set their sights on a medal after heading home European championship silver medalists Romania.
New Zealand won the final in a time of five minutes 35.73 seconds, heading home Romania by 1.19 seconds. Italy were almost another seven seconds off qualifying, with China fourth.
“It was a good race,” said crew member Matt MacDonald.
“It was quite a hot pace to start with – everyone was willing to throw everything at it. I feel like we managed to execute our race well.”
Ten New Zealand boats have now qualified for Tokyo, with nine crews set to contest the Olympic Games.
Earlier this year, Rowing NZ and the New Zealand Olympic Committee declined the lightweight women’s double qualification at the Tokyo Olympic Games following Zoe McBride’s retirement.
The women’s single, women’s double, lightweight women’s double, women’s pair, women’s quad, women’s eight, men’s single, men’s double and men’s pair gained Olympic qualification at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
The New Zealand rowing team for the Tokyo Olympics will be announced on June 11, but it’s highly unlikely any changes will be made to the eight which won in Lucerne, consisting of Tom Murray, Bond, Shaun Kirkham, Michael Brake, Dan Williamson, Phillip Wilson, Tom Mackintosh, MacDonald and coxswain Sam Bosworth, with Tony O’Connor the coach.