2022 World Rowing Championships: Sunday 25 September Day 8 (Final day)
The World Rowing Championships closed in the Czech Republic last night with an exhibition row featuring six legends of men’s single sculling from the past two decades.
Just minutes earlier New Zealand’s Emma Twigg had highlighted the legacy she’s created in the sport, winning a silver medal in the A-final of the women’s single.
Twigg has been competing at the top level of the event since 2007. Last year she claimed gold at the Tokyo Olympics but hasn’t had as much time on the water this season because of Covid-19 and other commitments.
In fact, Twigg was having just her third race of the season in her predicted showdown with boom Dutch sculler Karolien Florijn last night. The 24-year-old, whose parents were Olympic rowers, has been the standout this year in Twigg’s absence, winning every race she’s competed in.
Florijn’s built that record on a fast starting, row-from-the-front race plan. Twigg, at 35, builds into a race and just after the 1000m mark launched her attack on the Dutch athlete’s half-boat length lead.
But she couldn’t make inroads.
“When you don’t have quite the legs to last the second half of the race, it’s always going to be hard to hang on,” says Emma. She estimates she was competing at about 80 per cent of her capacity. Her immediate focus is competing at a coastal rowing demonstration event in Wales next month but considers her latest achievement a good indicator of what she’s still capable of with the Paris Olympics now just two years away.
Mahe Drysdale, who was part of that tribute row, was out on the course as the A-final of the men’s single was coming down to the final sprint.
New Zealand’s Jordan Parry was still chasing a podium place when he heard a familiar voice. “In the last 150 metres I heard Mahé yelling at me ‘HALF A LENGTH, HALF A LENGTH…GO’. He had my back there in the end there and I was just sprinting for my life,” says Jordan. He finished fourth and is now among a group of athletes that are making their own history in the event.
The gold went to Germany’s Oliver Zeidler, who upended Dutch favourite Melvin Twellaar with one of the best performances ever seen in the event. Jordan, who’s only 26, finished less than four seconds behind Zeidler. It’s a significant step forward when you also consider he finished ahead of the gold and silver medallists from last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Emma’s silver on the final day leaves New Zealand with three medals from the regatta, after Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast won gold in the women’s pair and Jackie Kiddle took bronze in the lightweight women’s single.