Favourites Drysdale, Brennan claim gold medals

While defending champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand beat Croatia's Damir Martin to win gold in the men's single sculls Kimberley Brennan of Australia won the women's single sculls final.

The gold went to Mahe Drysdale by a margin of 5,000ths of a second.   -  Getty Images

Kim Brennan has dominated the class since taking bronze at the last Olympics.   -  Reuters

Defending champion Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand beat Croatia's Damir Martin in a photo-finish to win gold in the men's single sculls at the Olympic rowing regatta on Saturday.

The race had been billed as a showdown between the Kiwi and his arch-rival Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic, who took the bronze medal.

Martin took an early lead chased by Drysdale and Synek but the New Zealander moved ahead in the last section. He looked to pull away but with a last lunge the Croatian shot forward.

The gold went to Drysdale by a margin of 5,000ths of a second.

Favourite Brennan of Australia clinches gold

Favourite Kimberley Brennan of Australia took a commanding lead in the first half of the women's single sculls final of the Olympic rowing regatta on Saturday and did not relent, winning by half a length from the United States' Gevvie Stone.

China's Jingli Duan claimed bronze while New Zealand's Emma Twigg, billed as Brennan's strongest challenger, came in fourth.

Brennan has dominated the class since taking bronze at the last Olympics. But she nearly sank in rough conditions last Saturday and came in 14th in the heat rankings, only just making the automatic qualifying.

US extend unbeaten run with gold in women's eight

The United States' women's eight powered to the gold medal in the Olympic rowing regatta on Saturday, extending a 10-year unbeaten run.

The U.S. crew took the lead in the third section after Canada and the Netherlands made the early running. The British team came good in the last stretch to claim silver and Romania made a late surge to take bronze.

The United States finished in 6 minutes 1.49 seconds, 2.49 seconds ahead of Britain.

This was the Americans' third Olympic gold in a row. Under coach Tom Terhaar, they have been unbeaten for 10 years and won all the world rowing championships and Olympic Games during this period.

It was a second gold for Meghan Musnicki and Elle Logan, the only two members of the crew who were also in the winning team in London in 2016.

“Born in the USA” played over loudspeakers as American fans revelled in their country's first rowing gold of the Rio Games.

Britain men's eight take gold to top table

Britain took the men's eight gold in the Olympic rowing regatta on Saturday, leading all the way from their great rivals and defending champions Germany in the grand finale to the event.

The result means that Britain top the medals table in rowing with three golds, while Germany and New Zealand have two apiece.

Winning in 5:29.63, Britain at one point led the pack by more than two-and-a-half seconds. Germany closed the gap slightly towards the end, claiming second just 1.33 seconds behind the gold-medal winner. The Netherlands added to their rowing medals at the 2016 Games with a bronze finish.

While Germany were the defending Olympic champions, Britain have beaten them in last three world championships.

HIGHLIGHT

A brilliant line up in the men's single sculls final did not fail to disappoint. European Champion Martin took a slender advantage in a tight opening 500 metres, opening up the field with reigning world champion Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and Drysdale by halfway.

Drysdale took charge from there, but Martin rowed him down in the final 100m and appeared to have done enough to take the gold. However, with equal times a photo finish showed Drysdale edging the win by the narrowest of margins, and he topped the podium with Synek taking bronze.

  QUOTES OF THE DAY

"I had no idea. I got the feeling he just passed me and I just chucked in a few short ones in desperation. It was not the way you want to finish, but to come away with that result was fantastic," —  Mahe Drysdale was delighted despite almost seeing his Olympic title slip away.

"I've imagined this so many times. I can stop feeling inadequate. My husband has a gold medal so now we're even," — topping the podium helps Kimberley  Brennan feel on a level playing field with husband Scott.

"Fifteen years of rowing, 30 years of family support, and an awesome group of girls who push me every day. No margin is big enough, no stroke is hard enough, but the important thing is we did this together," — five-time world champion Amanda Polk reflected upon her first Olympic medal in the women's eight.