No rocking the boat for New Zealand pair ahead of Rio tilt

Tue May 17, 2016 3:07am EDT
 
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By Greg Stutchbury

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - After plowing up and down New Zealand's Waikato River for thousands of hours together, London Olympic rowing champion Hamish Bond likens his partnership with Eric Murray in the men's pair to an eight-year marriage.

"We don't necessarily want to be in each other's pockets 24/7 but we get on fine," the 30-year-old Bond told Reuters in a telephone interview from Rowing New Zealand headquarters in Cambridge.

"It is a little bit testing at times but we'll keep persisting."

That persistence has led to one of the most dominant partnerships in world rowing and made them heavy favorites to win their second successive gold medal at the Aug. 5-21 Rio Olympics.

They have won six world championships titles in the pair, and one in the coxed pair, Olympic gold in London, and are unbeaten in more than 60 races since they combined in 2009.

Such was their dominance ahead of the 2012 Games that their nearest challengers, the British duo Pete Reed and Andrew Triggs-Hodge, switched back to the coxless four instead.

While the New Zealand pair have established a long-standing and successful partnership, it was clearly not a case of 'love at first sight' when they met more than a decade ago.

Bond told local news website The Spinoff last year that he thought the gregarious Murray was "an egotistical boofhead".   Continued...

 
Gold medallists Eric Murray (L) and Hamish Bond of New Zealand celebrate during the medals ceremony after winning the Men's Pair Final event during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney August 3, 2012.      REUTERS/Mark Blinch