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German rower topples Olympic medallists

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/12/2016 Cathy Walshe

Mahe Drysdale, of New Zealand, rows for gold in the men's rowing single sculls final during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. © Andre Penner/ASSOCIATED PRESS/AP Images Mahe Drysdale, of New Zealand, rows for gold in the men's rowing single sculls final during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. An unheralded German has beaten Olympic rowing rivals Mahe Drysdale and Damir Martin at the Billy Webb Challenge on the Whanganui River.

The annual race was touted as a showdown between Kiwi two-time Olympic single sculls champion Drysdale and Croat Martin, who missed victory at the Rio Games by 3cm in a dramatic finish.

However, world under-23 champion Tim Ole Naske thrived in choppy conditions on 5km course, winning in 22 minutes 21 seconds.

Martin was third behind Kiwi under-23 representative Jordan Parry while Drysdale was fifth.

The Kiwi great had been in wind-down mode since Rio, planning to take the next year off before launching a possible tilt at the 2020 Olympics.

A multiple winner of the Whanganui race, the 37-year-old struggled to match his opponents in a race which entailed 2.5km raced into the current before turning around and completing the second half downstream.

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