September 05, 2015

AIGUEBELETTE, France (AP) Olympic champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray of New Zealand overcame a shaky start before pulling away strongly to win the men's pairs title for a sixth time at the world rowing championships on Saturday.

Bond and Murray, unbeaten since teaming up after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, fell behind early on to the Italians but moved into the lead at the 750-meter (yard) mark.

They notched 40 strokes per minute in the final stretch to win in 6 minutes, 15.83 seconds in cool conditions, nearly seven seconds clear of British pair James Foad and Matt Langridge. Serbia's Milos Vasic and Nenad Bedik took bronze.

''6:15 is a pretty good time for the conditions, we are pleased with that and especially to do it on race day,'' Bond said. ''We made some good improvements in our rhythm these last weeks.''

On a good day for Kiwi rowers, Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie retained their lightweight women's double sculls title in 6:53.01, beating Britain and South Africa.

Also, Jeremie Azou and Stany Delayre went one better than last year to thrill the home crowd and win the lightweight doubles ahead of Britain's William Fletcher and Richard Chambers - who started at an electric pace of 52 strokes per minute - and 2013 world champions Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Norway.

''We tried to save as much energy as possible in the first half and then give everything in the second half,'' Delayre said. ''It's just an intense joy to finally be world champions.''

Olympic and world champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning secured a dominant win in the women's pairs ahead of New Zealand and the United States.

''We were exactly where we want to be, we will peak only next year (at the Olympics),'' Stanning said. ''It is great to win here.''

Amanda Elmore, Tracy Eisser, Megan Kalmoe and Olivia Coffey helped the American women win the quadruple sculls ahead of Germany and the Netherlands.

Germany won the men's quadruple sculls ahead of Australia and Estonia, and the Italian men won the men's four, with Australia finishing second and Britain taking bronze.

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