Drysdale tipped from perch

Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale’s sensational run as single–sculls maestro came to an end yesterday after failing to progress past the quarterfinals at the World Championships in Chungju, Korea.

The five-time world champion and Olympic gold medallist faced an uphill battle after suffering a rib injury when thrown from his bike on impact with a light truck in Korea last week and then fronting a top class field in the quarterfinals.

With only the top three progressing to the semifinals, the former Tauranga Boys’ College student failed to stamp his usual mark on the field, fading in the last 250 metres following his return from a six month sabbatical.

His heat included Germany’s Marcel Hacker, silver medallist from the 2013 Lucerne World Cup regatta and sixth at the London Olympic Games; Azerbaijan’s Aleksander Aleksandrov and Georgi Bozhilov from Bulgaria.

Drysdale was unable to push through the pain and unable to deliver on his goal of making the A final finishing in a time of 7minutes 1.70 seconds. Hacker took first spot, Aleksandrov second and Bozhilov third.

Since taking up the single sculls in 2005, Drysdale has been a mainstay for New Zealand Rowing continuously collecting an array of titles.

Until yesterday he had never missed a world championship or Olympic podium, recording gold, gold, gold, bronze, gold, silver, gold and gold at each year’s pinnacle event.

Before the race, Drysdale expressed concerned opinion with the draw via Twitter.

"@WorldRowing I thought Quarter finals were supposed to make sure the best Rowers make the A Final, then you stack 4 A Finalists in one race."

He also predicted what he would face.

"Looks like will have to pull all stops out in Quarters tomorrow, just to make semi. Going to be a tough race #wishingIFinishedSecondInHeat!"

Along with Drysdale’s disappointment, the New Zealand Rowing team struggled to perform on the fourth day of the 2013 world rowing championships in Chungju, Korea.

Lightweight men’s single sculler Duncan Grant was unable to hold off a strong charge down from the Italian sculler Jose Casiraghi in the final 500m of the quarterfinal finishing fourth and missing out on progressing to the A/B semifinal.

With only the top two crews out of the five progressed to the A final and the rest headed to a B final, the women’s eight put in a very encouraging performance holding onto the lead for the first half of the race, but the Netherlands put in a huge sprint surging to the line a canvas in front for the second placing.

Great Britain took the first place in 6:08.73, Netherlands for second in 6:09.40 and New Zealand back to third only 1.52 seconds behind in 6:10.25.

The championships regatta runs until Sunday at the Tangeum International Rowing Regatta venue, Chungju, Korea with finals beginning tomorrow.

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