Matt Dunham, here pictured training last year, claimed gold at the Rowing World Cup in Poland. (File photo)
Lightweight single sculler Matt Dunham has claimed New Zealand’s first gold medal at the Rowing World Cup in Poland.
The Auckland-born Cambridge Rowing Club member produced a strong late surge to claim victory in the final in Poznan on Sunday (NZ time).
Like he did in his heat a day earlier – where Dunham dominated the second 1000 metres to finish at the top of the field – the 27-year-old again showed his fight to the finish in the decider.
Up against two Polish competitors, along with rowers from Ireland, Uruguay and Belarus, Dunham was second at the 500m, 1000m and 1500m marks behind Irishman Fintan McCarthy.
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But from exactly one second down with a quarter of the race to go, the Kiwi put on the gas to steam past McCarthy and win by 1.43 seconds in a time of 6:43.07.
Uruguayan Felipe Kluver Ferreira rounded out the podium, a further 2.36 seconds behind McCarthy.
Dunham first represented New Zealand at under-21 level, then announced himself on the elite international stage in 2016 when filling in for the lightweight men’s four and helping the boat to a pair of World Cup wins. A year later he claimed silver at the World Championships in Florida, thanks to a blistering final sprint.
He was named in New Zealand’s 2019-20 summer squad as a heavyweight sculler to try his hand for an Olympic seat.
Meanwhile, the men’s pair of Tom Mackintosh and Matt Macdonald, and women’s four of Phoebe Spoors, Beth Ross, Davina Waddy and Catherine Layburn both finished second in their respective semifinals to earn themselves spots in finals on Sunday night (NZ time).
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