Tokyo Olympics: Champion-laden female crews provide New Zealand rowing with ample medal hopes

The success of the New Zealand rowing team at this year's Olympic Games will rest heavily on the women's contingent.

Six of the nine boats bound for Tokyo are female crews, including single sculler Emma Twigg, who's come out of retirement for her fourth and potentially final shot at an elusive medal.

And a stunted build-up - thanks to COVID-19 - isn't necessarily a bad thing for the Kiwi contingent, allowing them time to train together at home, rather than head to Europe for World Cup events.

"Not going to Europe isn't necessarily a negative for our team," Twigg tells Newshub. "Just purely because we've got such depth within it."

That depth includes 12 former or current world champions - all from female crews.

"Because we aren't going to Europe and competing in World Cups, the focus is very much on the Olympic Games and getting it right at the moment.

"[We're] ticking boxes we haven't had to in the past, recreating race scenarios and able to gauge ourselves off some of the world's best."

Among the group is another female crew - double-sculls combo Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe - who haven't competed internationally since 2019.

"No-one knows what we've been doing here," Donoghue tells Newshub. "We've been lucky to be in a country consistently training on the water as a squad.

"We've got an amazing squad and you can't buy that sort of stuff."

But the two-time world champions aren't hiding their end-game for Tokyo.

"It's not a secret that we're going there to win gold," Loe adds. "That's what we expect and we're putting in the training to do that."

Twigg shares that goal, looking for an elusive medal after heartbreaking fourth-placed finishes in both London and Rio de Janeiro.

"I'm going there to win this time around," she says. "I've gone to win every time and haven't quite achieved that.

"That's the aim and we'll see what happens."

Only time will tell to see if all the work will pay off. 

"I hope that there's some young kids who've been inspired by Twigg to get into rowing.

"I think if I've achieved that, my career's been a success."