Mahe Drysdale facing fight from Robbie Manson for single sculls boat

On the back of a sparkling performance at the Rowing World Cup, up-and-comer Robbie Manson has thrown down the gauntlet to Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.

Manson dominated at the last four rowing world meets, in Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic and Serbia, winning the men's single sculls event in each and breaking Drysdale's world record in one of the runs.

After his stellar run, the 27-year-old believes he's earned the right to race in the single boat, representing New Zealand on the international stage moving forward.

"It's the boat I want to be in in Tokyo and I think now I've sorta shown that I have a realistic chance now

"I've exceeded my own expectations so far, it's only been my first two international regattas in the boat and hopefully with my coach Noel, we can keep moving forward and improving and getting even faster so it's really exciting."

Prior to 2017, Manson's been racing in the double sculls with Chris Harris.

However, with the absence of Drysdale - who announced a 12-month break following the 2016 Rio Olympics - Manson's stepped into the single boat, and made it look easy.

Mahe Drysdale
Mahe Drysdale winning gold at the Rio Olympics. Photo credit: Photosport

"I've raced a single a lot at home and at nationals, against Mahe [Drysdale], Eric [Murray] and [Hamish] Bondy and John Storey.

"I've had a lot of racing experience in a single but not at World Cups."

With New Zealand not expected to be too competitive on the international stage in Drysdale's absence, Manson's emergence puts a dent in the two-time Olympic gold medallist's hopes in regaining his boat.

Drysdale took his hat off to Manson and the year he's had so far and was under no illusion as to the challenge that he posed.

"He's going really well, it's great to see him perform," Drysdale told Newshub.

"If the singles is where I want to go I know I've got a big mountain ahead of me to overcome him because he's clearly the best sculler in the world right now.

"That's where the level is, if that's where I want to go, that's what I'm going to have to beat him next March to earn my spot."