September 06, 2015

AIGUEBELETTE, France (AP) Britain held off Germany by less than two tenths of a second to win the men's eight at the world rowing championships on Sunday.

The British crew finished in 5 minutes, 36.18 seconds to win by .18 and clinch the title for the third straight year, with the Netherlands team edging New Zealand for the bronze medal in a thrilling finish.

''It was the best row we've ever had,'' Briton Matthew Gotrel said. ''We had a lot of pressure.''

Britain clinched five golds, nine silver and one bronze to top the worlds standings with 15 medals. New Zealand and Germany ended with nine medals, but the Kiwis got five gold compared to three for the German crews.

There was another narrow win as Czech rower Ondrej Synek narrowly defended his men's single sculls title by .34 seconds ahead of Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand. The lead changed hands in the final stretch and Synek pushed back in front of his veteran rival just three strokes from the end to win his third straight world championship and fourth overall in single sculls.

''It was a tough race, unfortunately I lost the most important of this year,'' the 36-year-old Mahe said. ''I lost because I didn't see Ondrej's move.''

Lithuania's Mindaugas Griskonis finished three seconds back in third spot.

Martin Sinkovic and his older brother Valent retained their title, powering Croatia to the gold medal in the men's double sculls final in 6:03.33.

''The other crews pushed more this year,'' Valent Sinkovic said. ''Next season we will train even more to be ready for the (Olympic) Games.''

Lithuanian pair Rolandas Mascinskas and Saulius Ritter took silver and Kiwi pair Robert Manson and Christopher Harris got bronze.

Switzerland won the men's lightweight four final ahead of Denmark and France.

Meanwhile, Australian Kimberley Crow sealed a dominant win in the women's single sculls, clocking a winning time of 7:38.92 to cross the line three seconds clear of Czech rower Miroslava Knapkova and five seconds ahead of China's Duan Jingli.

''I had a fun year, I got engaged and to be world champion makes it really great,'' Crow said. ''Today was about staying calm and executing my race plan.''

New Zealanders Eve MacFarlane and Zoe Stevenson defended their title in the women's double sculls in 6:45.09, with Greeks Aikaterini Nikolaidou and Sofia Asoumanaki - the fastest semifinalists - taking silver ahead of Germany's Julia Lier and Mareike Adams.

''This race was incredible,'' Stevenson said. ''We wanted to show our coaches that our partnership is a good one.''

The United States won the women's eight in 6:05.65, finishing nearly three seconds ahead of New Zealand, with Canada finishing third.

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