Kiddle claims first gold for New Zealand
Lightweight single sculler Jackie Kiddle has collected New Zealand’s first gold medal at the World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland.
Kiddle, an under-23 world champion who is competing in her first world cup, scooped the win after proving herself a force to be reckoned with in earlier races.
The 22-year-old from Star Boating Club took no prisoners in her semi-final, sticking to her signature move of starting conservatively before picking her way through the field to take the win.
She then faced a loaded A final with tough competition from former world champion and local favourite Joanna Dorociak of Poland, European champion Emma Fredh of Sweden as well as European bronze medallist Patricia Merz of Switzerland.
Jackie Kiddle secures New Zealand’s first gold medal in the women’s lightweight single sculls.
PHOTO CREDIT STEVE MCARTHUR/ROWING NZ
Once again Kiddle played her A final to perfection, sitting in sixth place at the 500 metre mark in the tightly packed race before moving up and launching a devastating attack to destroy the field in the last quarter, crossing the line in a nail-biting photo finish.
“I was a little bit concerned coming through the 500 that I couldn’t see anybody else but I was pretty confident in my race plan and I was backing myself through that first bit of pain.” Kiddle said following the win.
Kiddle was competing in the event in place of an injured two-time world champion Zoe McBride, her lightweight double sculls crewmate.
“It’s a little bittersweet I haven’t got Zoe up here with me, we’re absolutely chomping at the bit to get the same result in the bigger boat.”
The duo will resume on-water training this week ahead of the Henley Royal Regatta.
Today’s gold medal could be a sign of things to come, with eight New Zealand crews lining up in seven A finals tomorrow. Crews will also be hoping for a return of summer conditions, after today's unseasonably cold temperatures, rain and blustery winds.
In other finals racing today Matt Dunham took the win in the men's lightweight single sculls B final.
Dunham missed out on a spot in the A final by an excruciating 0.01 seconds following a photo finish which saw him take fourth behind Uncas Batista of Brazil earlier in the day.
He then went on to claim victory in the B final, laying down a well-paced performance to win ahead of Lars Wichert of Germany and Jiri Simanek of the Czech Republic.
Robbie Manson will be looking to snag his first world cup single sculls medal in tomorrow’s single sculls A final.
Manson cruised to victory in today’s semi-final with over four seconds on his nearest rival, Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin of Croatia and Thomas Barras of Great Britain.
Martin was quickest out of the blocks but an unflinching Manson had chased him down by the 1000 metre mark, pulling into the lead where he was untouchable and secured his second win of the regatta.
In a perfectly paced race women’s single sculler Hannah Osborne outwitted her more experienced competitors to secure a third place finish and a chance at her first world cup medal in the A final.
Osborne trailed the field in the first 500 metres before making a push in the second half of the race, battling with Olympian Sanita Puspure of Ireland for the required third place.
The 23-year-old finally got the better of the 35-year-old Puspure in the final 250 metres of the race to take third behind winner Jingli Duan of China and Magdalena Lobnig of Austria, claiming her place in tomorrow’s A final
Olympians John Storey and Chris Harris played it safe and led from the gun in the semi-final of the men’s double sculls, taking the win and with it a place in tomorrow’s A final
Storey and Harris crossed the line with a clear water advantage over Rodrigo Murillo and Cristian Rosso of Argentina in second, and Dominik Czaja and Adam Wicenciak of Poland in third leaving the remaining boats to settle for the B final.
Jackie Gowler will face her sister Kerri in the A final of the women’s pair after qualifying in the repechage with crewmate Kirstyn Goodger.
Gowler and Goodger looked comfortable down the course and took a solid second place in the repechage, securing them a berth in tomorrow’s medal race.
Cameron Webster and Alex Kennedy will contest the B final of the men’s pair after another close sprint finish in their semi-final which saw them miss out on the A final by just 0.04 seconds.
With only two A final places available the pressure was on all crews to perform. The Turlan brothers of France took the win while the second place went to the Turkish crew of Besim Sahinoglu and Onat Kazakli following a photo finish with Webster and Kennedy, who were awarded third.
Nathan Flannery, Giacomo Thomas, Cameron Crampton and Lewis Hollows will also contest the B final of the men’s quad after finishing just one place short of an A final qualifying position.
After sitting just shy of the leaders for the first 1500 metres the New Zealanders sprinted to the line, but it wasn’t quite enough and they claimed third place behind Norway and the Netherlands.
The big boats were also on show today with an exhibition race for both the men’s and women’s eights ahead of tomorrow’s medal races.
The New Zealand women’s eight, coxed by Sam Bosworth, put in an authoritative performance to win the test race in style ahead of powerhouses Great Britain and USA.
The men’s eight, coxed by Caleb Shepherd, took a more restrained approach with a fifth place finish.
Both are looking to be strong contenders for Sunday’s final.
Racing concludes tomorrow. Start lists, results and live race tracker available on www.worldrowing.com.
LIVE coverage available on SKY Sport (New Zealand only). See planner for details.