Prendergast and Gowler win first gold for New Zealand at Tokyo Olympics

Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler have won New Zealand’s first gold of the Tokyo Olympics in the women’s coxless pairs.

The rowers overcame a slow start to take the lead shortly after the midway point, winning in 6:50.19, with the Russian Olympic Committee team and Canada taking silver and bronze.

“I can’t believe it,” said a stunned Gowler, according to Newshub.

“We crossed the line and I started yelling ‘have we done it’, but yeah it’s amazing – I’m so glad.

“I was so focused on us when we finished that I asked Grace if we did it, so I’m still, yeah, I can’t really believe it.”

A “stoked” Prendergast said it was a just reward for five years of hard work. “It was incredible.”

In the semi-finals a day earlier the pair regained their world record from Greek pair Maria Kyriacou and Christina Bourbou, with a time of 6.47.41.

The pair, who also beat a GB team that featured two-time Olympic champion Helen Glover on Thursday, are only the third female Kiwi crew to win Olympic gold and have been racing together since 2014.

So far New Zealand has also won two silver medals and a bronze. Fiji stunned the All blacks in the rugby sevens final on Wednesday.