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Champion rower takes on world in smaller boat

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He’s an Olympic champion but rower Tom Mackintosh has no expectations of success less than a year after his Tokyo glory.

The New Zealand elite rowing squad starts its international season at this weekend’s World Cup regatta in Poland.

NZ men’s eight with Tokyo Olympic gold
Photo: AFP or licensors

Last year Mackintosh and his crewmates stunned the rowing world by winning Olympic gold in the men’s eight, having only just qualified for the Games via the last chance regatta.

He has enjoyed what that success has afforded him.

“It’s been fun getting medal out and showing those keen to see it, but day to day life is much the same and the focus now is to see what we can do in the small boat.

Mackintosh grew up in Hawke’s Bay and first got into rowing while at Lindisfarne College, he then studied at Canterbury University before moving to the High Performance Centre at Cambridge.

There were a number of retirements from the men’s eight following last year’s Olympics and so the national body decided not to get an eight together for the 2022 World Cup regattas.

Mackintosh is now rowing in the pair with fellow eight gold medalist Matt MacDonald.

It’s the first time Mackintosh has rowed a pair at international level.

“We don’t have any expectations, we’ll just got out and do the best we can.”

He has enjoyed the change.

“It’s certainly interesting going from the big boat to the small boat, there’s a bit less admin involved with just two of us.

“It’s cool, it’s an exciting new challenge and I’m keen to see how we stack up against the competition.

The elite squad were back in training a couple of months after Tokyo, but it was only three months ago that the boats were decided.

He admits training in the smaller boat is challenging.

“The (pair) boat is slower than the eight and it’s more taxing on the body and so there have been more hours in the boat trying to get more k’s under the belt.”

However he doesn’t know what future he has in the pair or any other boat.

“We ticked the box with what we did in the eight, I was really proud with that result, and with the pair we’re just taking it one regatta at a time and see how we get on.

“However the World Championships in September in the pair is the aim for this year.

New Zealand has nine boats competing across the World Cup regattas in Poland (June 17-19), the Henley Royal regatta (June 28-July 3) and the Lucerne World Cup regatta (July 8-10)

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