A golden 52 minutes? Kiwi Olympic team's three big hopes today

Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 30 Jul 2021, 7:51AM
Emma Twigg. (Photo / Photosport)
Emma Twigg. (Photo / Photosport)

A golden 52 minutes? Kiwi Olympic team's three big hopes today

Newstalk ZB / NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 30 Jul 2021, 7:51AM

New Zealand have a chance for a golden hour on the water in Tokyo today, with three rowing crews in finals, and all of them with a chance at standing on the top spot of the podium.

Here's all you need to know about today's action (Friday, 30 July).

Kiwis in action today

It's time for a strategic long lunch break - clear your schedule from 12.33pm to 1.25pm, as New Zealand have a chance to win three medals on the water, and, dare we say it, some of those medals could be gold.

Emma Twigg starts the proceedings in the single scull, looking to finally get on the podium on her fourth Olympic attempt, after two fourth-placed efforts in 2012 and 2016.

Her main rival for gold will be the Russian Olympic Committee's Hanna Prakatsen, a surprising late bloomer who changed allegiance from Belarus to Russia and suddenly became a world-class competitor, but while gold is a realistic aim, a medal of any colour is a strong possibility for Twigg if she performs near her best.

While favouritism for the single scull is debatable, the women's eight deserve their marker as the crew to beat, and will go for gold at 1.05pm. After their golden efforts yesterday in the pair, Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast can make it a historic double with victory in the women's eight as well, in what would be one of the marquee victories in New Zealand rowing history.

Also aiming for history are the men's eight, who have had to take the scenic route to the final, first having to advance through the final Olympic qualifier before then winning the repechage yesterday to qualify for the final.

Perhaps a touch slower than some of their rivals, the men's eight aren't the favourites like their female counterparts are, but are a chance for a medal in a field which is usually rather compact.

If that's not enough water-based sports for you, less than an hour after the men's eight comes Lewis Clareburt, who has produced some sensational swims to qualify for the final in his less-favoured 200m Individual Medley.

Much like the 400IM, he will probably have to go even better than his New Zealand record time in order to make the podium, so a medal is probably only an outside chance, but with not much separating the qualifiers, another historic swim could break New Zealand's swimming medal drought.

Other medal contenders in action today include the men's doubles tennis duo of Michael Venus and Marcus Daniell, who play for bronze against the United States, and should make more inroads than they did in the semifinal against the dominant Croatian team, while Rebecca Petch will aim to conclude a remarkable comeback after crashing in her first BMX heat when she returns today to compete in the semifinals, and, possibly, the final.

Finally, starting their campaigns today are two other New Zealand medal prospects, with Valerie Adams participating in the shot put qualifier at night, and the Kiwi equestrian team getting underway.

Check the "who's competing" interactive above to see the full list of Kiwis in action, and when they begin their events.

Sports in action today

Archery (Women's individual medal matches)
Athletics (Qualifiers, Men's 10,000m final)
Badminton (Knockouts)
Baseball (Pool Play)
Basketball (Women's Pool Play)
Beach Volleyball (Pool Play)
Boxing (Round of 16, quarter-finals)
Canoe Slalom (Men's kayak final)
Cycling BMX racing (Finals)
Diving (Women's 3m Springboard Preliminary)
Equestrian (Eventing Dressage)
Fencing (Men's Epee Team finals)
Football (Women's quarter-finals)
Golf (Men's Round 2)
Handball (Men's Pool Play)
Hockey (Pool Play)
Judo (Women's 78kg+ and Men's 100kg+ medal matches)
Rowing (Four finals)
Rugby Sevens (Women's Pool Play and quarter-finals)
Sailing (Classification Races)
Shooting (25m Women's Pistol Final)
Swimming (Four finals)
Table Tennis (Men's singles medal matches)
Tennis (Singles semifinals, doubles finals)
Trampoline Gymnastics (Women's final)
Volleyball (Men's Pool play)
Water Polo (Women's Pool play)