Benedict Tufnell

Manson Draws First Blood Against Drysdale

by Benedict Tufnell

Robbie Manson has drawn first blood in the much anticipated duel between him and the Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.

Yesterday saw the pair’s first contest since Drysdale returned to training after a year off from the sport. Racing at the Christmas regatta on Lake Karapiro, Manson finished first in a time of 6:38.24, 14 seconds ahead of sixth placed Drysdale.

“We want the best single sculler representing us at the world champs”

Manson proved himself a worth successor last season to the double and reigning Olympic champion as he took time away from the sport. Manson won two world cups and set a new World’s Best Time before injury de-railed his world championship hopes. Drysdale however has now returned determined to defend his Olympic title in 2020, setting the scene for an epic showdown as the pair vie for selection in the New Zealand team this season.

Although yesterday’s result was perhaps a wider margin than many would have expected, few are ready to write Drysdale off just yet. The selection criteria has yet to be confirmed and Rowing New Zealand Performance Manager Alan Cotter believes there is still a long way to go before any decisions are made.

“We want the best single sculler representing us at the world champs in September, so a lot of months to go yet. We’ll just see how it plays out over the next period of time…and let the athletes know the process we’ll be following.”


Photo ©Benedict Tufnell

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