Tokyo Olympics: Schedule change calls Kiwi rowing eights into early Games action

Kiwi rowing eights have already seen their Olympic campaign thrown into disarray, with organisers bringing their heats forward into Saturday's schedule.

Adverse weather forecasts for Monday have seen rowing heats moved into the weekend, with the big boats now pressed into early action.

The shift denied Olympic rowing legend Hamish Bond - twice pair gold medallist with Eric Murray - the opportunity to lead the NZ team into the Olympic Stadium for Friday's opening ceremony.

He was replaced late by boxer David Nyika, who shared the role with Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini.

"Unfortunately, this late and unexpected change means I’ve had to make a very tough decision," says Bond, now a member of the NZ eight.

"Although being flagbearer is a huge honour, ultimately I came to Tokyo to compete and that means I need to prioritise being in the best possible condition for racing tomorrow."

Only seven teams have entered the men's eight, with winners of the two heats progressing straight to the final. New Zealand face defending champions Great Britain and Rio bronze medallists Netherlands in their heat.

While Kiwi men are regarded as medal long shots, the women are reigning world champions and favourites for gold in Tokyo. They take on Rio silver medallists Great Britain, Canada and China in their heat.

The scheduled change also presents a daunting challenge for double world champions Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast, who race their pair heat at 12:40pm and then face eight preliminaries less than three hours later.

NZ Rowing has named a squad of 10 for the big boat, presumably covering any clash in Gowler and Prendergast's racing schedule.

Saturday's programme for Kiwi athletes looks like this:


Men's qualification - Misha Koudinov 1pm, 5:30pm & 10:30pm NZ 


Men's road race - George Bennett & Patrick Bevin 2pm NZ


Women's first round - Football Ferns v USA 11:30pm NZ


Men's Pool A - Black Sticks v India 1pm NZ


Women’s pair heats - Kerri Gowler & Grace Prendergast 12:40pm NZ

Men’s pair heats - Stephen Jones & Brook Robertson 1pm NZ

Men's eight heats - Hamish Bond, Sam Bosworth, Michael Brake, Shaun Kirkham, Matt Macdonald, Tom Mackintosh, Tom Murray, Dan Williamson & Philip Wilson 3:10pm NZ

Women's eight heats - Kelsey Bevan, Emma Dyke, Kirstyn Goodger, Jackie Gowler, Kerri Gowler, Ella Greenslade, Grace Prendergast, Beth Ross, Caleb Shepherd, Lucy Spoors, Phoebe Spoors 3:20pm NZ


Men's 400m individual medley heats - Lewis Clareburt 10:13pm NZ

Men's 400m freestyle heats - Zac Reid 10:49pm NZ


Men’s -58kg quarter-final & semi-final - Tom Burns 5:15pm & 7:15pm NZ

Men’s -58kg repechages & medal matches - Tom Burns 10:15pm, 11:45pm NZ

Join us at noon for live updates of the Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics:  Schedule change calls Kiwi rowing eights into early Games action