Croatian Sinkovic brothers take gold in rowing men’s pair

TOKYO (AP) — Croatian brothers Martin and Valent Sinkovic dominated the men’s pair in Olympic rowing on Thursday, cruising to victory in a race they led from the start.

The Croatians were the heavy favorites. They won gold in double sculls in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, then switched boat disciplines and won two world championships before claiming another Olympic gold. They are the first men to win Olympic gold in both double sculls and the sweep pairs.

The only question was whether a strong break at the 1,000-meter mark that built a big lead might have been too early. Romanians Marius Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa kept the Croatians within sight, but they could never pull within a half boat length of the lead before taking the silver medal.

Grace Pendergrast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand won gold in the women’s pair. The Kiwi duo became just the third non-European team to win the Olympic event, and the first since Australia in 1996.

Ireland’s duo of Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan held off a late charge from Jonathan Rommelmann and Jason Osborne of Germany to win gold in the men’s lightweight double sculls.

The Irish came in as the favorite after winning the world championships in 2019 and the European title in 2021. O’Donovan won silver in the same event with brother Gary in Rio in 2016, which was Ireland’s first rowing medal.

Valentina Rodini and Federica Cesarini of Italy surged over the final 50 meters to snatch the gold medal in the women’s lightweight double sculls as the Dutch team of Marieke Keiser and Ilse Paulis collapsed.

The Dutch boat had led nearly the entire race, only to fall to third in the final 20 meters as the French team of Laura Tarantola and Claire Bove took the silver medal. The Dutch team nearly slipped out of the medals entirely, and it took the podium by only 0.01 seconds ahead of Britain.

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