Tokyo Olympics: New Zealand men's rowing eight qualify for Games at 'Regatta of Death' in Switzerland


The New Zealand men's eight have successfully qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games after winning their final at the last chance qualification regatta in Switzerland.

The New Zealand crew needed to finish in the top two, and after winning the preliminary race on Friday night, they appeared to be on track.

New Zealand, Romania and China were close through the first 1500 metres of the final, with Italy trailing and it was in the last 500 that New Zealand managed to pull ahead, winnig by 1.2 seconds from Romania.

Crew member Tom Mackintosh says because of the cutthroat nature of this regatta, all the crews went out hard.

"The Chinese and the Romanians were holding us right up until the 1500 metre mark, but I think we really showed our colours in that last quarter with our fitness and good training programme and it meant we could make gains in the last 500 metres," Mackintosh said.

Mackintosh, who was competing in his first regatta with the eight, says their win on Friday night in the preliminary race did help them on Monday.

"It gave us a lot of confidence in solidifying our own race plan, we knew that the Romanians would always be tough and after matching them on Friday, we knew we could probably do it again."

The final was brought forward a day because of the forecasted bad weather for Lucerne.

The Kiwi crew will return to New Zealand this week where they will continue training throughout a 14-day-period based in a managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facility.

"It's cool that we can officially now say that we're heading to the Tokyo Olympics, we've been training for this for a long time, so we'll head back to New Zealand for more training with the Olympics being the big goal," said Mackintosh.

Ten New Zealand boats have now qualified for Tokyo, with nine crews contesting the Olympic Games.

Earlier this year Rowing NZ and the New Zealand Olympic Committee declined the lightweight women's double qualification at the Tokyo Olympic Games following Zoe McBride's retirement.

The women's single, women's double, lightweight women's double, women's pair, women's quad, women's eight, men's single, men's double and men's pair gained Olympic qualification at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.

The New Zealand Olympic Rowing Team will be announced on 11 June.