Tokyo Olympics 2020: World champion rowing pair eyeing historic medal double

Double world champions Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast have claimed female crew honours at the International Rowing Awards, with their coach Gary Hay coach of the year.

Success in the pair and eights also saw Gary Hay named Coach of the Year. 

"If you had of told me this time last year, you'll be in two crews and go the world champs, I never would've thought it was possible to come away with two golds," Gowler told Newshub.

"It is pretty special."

Their success was unprecedented, capturing the pairs crown just one day before helping the women's eight to victory at Ottensheim, Austria.

"A credit to the whole programme at the moment that that was even possible," Pendergast told Newshub.

Racing in two boats was a rare move, which Rowing New Zealand took to ensure the women's eight qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics next July.

The decision paid off, with two Olympic gold medals a genuine possibility for this champion duo.

"It definitely does cross my mind every now and then," Gowler said. "It would be amazing."

With just eight months until the opening ceremony, Rowing New Zealand needs to decide whether to repeat the risk in a thriving women's programme. 

"There is a lot of depth in the women's squad, so whether we even need to do it again is another question, as well," said Gowler.

"I'm definitely not dreading how quickly it's coming around.

"I'm pretty excited about the prospects for next year."