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Manson lauds influence of Olympic greats

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4 days ago

Robbie Manson says the inspirational Mahe Drysdale is one factor behind his record-breaking rowing deeds.

Now he wants his seat at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Manson emerged as a potential star as the Kiwi rowers made a blistering start to the new Olympic cycle in Poland.

They won six gold medals and a silver at the World Cup regatta in Poland, with world best times falling to Manson and the women's pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler.

Manson destroyed a world class field with a time of 6 minutes 30.74 seconds, nearly 3sec quicker than the former world mark owned by Kiwi double Olympic champion Drysdale.

The 27-year-old later revealed that he wasn't overwhelmed going into his first international regatta in the singles seat.

In fact, going under Drysdale's record time was a short-term target, with his longer-distance lens also focused on the Tokyo Olympics.

"I've said all along the single is what I want be in in Tokyo," he told the World Rowing website.

"I wanted to prove I'm not just filling the spot temporarily. I want to make it my own."

It already sets up a fascinating 2018 season, with Drysdale set to return to racing after giving himself a sabbatical this year in the wake of his Rio Olympics triumph.

Drysdale, who will be 41 at the time of Tokyo Games, posted his congratulations online to Manson and the other Kiwi rowers after their results in Poland.

Manson, in turn, showered praise on the influence of Drysdale and other modern greats such as unstoppable men's pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

"Having guys like Mahe, Eric and Hamish in the team has shown the rest of us what we need to do to get there," he said.

"It's my first time racing the single internationally but having raced those guys gives you that international level racing that you need, without coming overseas."

Blenheim-born Manson won this year's national championships, rubbing out the memory of a disappointing campaign in Rio when he and Chris Harris failed to qualify for the double sculls B-final.

They claimed a bronze medal at the previous year's world championships.

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