World Champions New Zealand Open Women World Champions New Zealand Open Women CREDIT: Icon Sport
Brazil - World Champions Open Men Brazil - World Champions Open Men CREDIT: Icon Sport

Brazil win men's open, but Kiwis shine on final day

Monday 25 November 2013, 11:27AM
By Icon Sport


The spectacular Down River climax to the World Rafting Championships in Rotorua on Sunday saw Brazil confirmed as the best men's rafting crew in the world, but local river expertise saw New Zealand crews excel to lock out the overall gold medals in the Women's Open and Men's and Women's Masters categories.

With 400 points up for grabs in the 45 minute race down the Rangitaiki - the most of rafting's four disciplines - it was all on today. A 'pod' start of the top rafts in groups of four for the Men's Open finale produced a dramatic start as all paddlers ran from the banks and into their boats before slugging it out for the lead position in the group.

After a bit of argy bargey and some fierce paddling, Brazil took the lead from Japan and Chile with New Zealand bullied down to fourth in the early stages. Brazil and Japan then engaged in a nose to tail battle for much of the 47 minute race - going toe to toe for the leg and overall titles. In the last portion of the race Brazil were able to paddle to a lead of a few boat lengths - enough to give them fastest time of the day and both the Down River and Overall gold medals.

Japan finished runners up in the race and the points table, with New Zealand edging out Chile for the bronze medal. Italy's surprising fourth fastest Down River leg was also notable, firing them up the overall order to 12th  after a low key competition.

A superb Down River paddle by New Zealand's women was the talk of the riverbank, with the crew propelling themselves to their first gold medal with the Down River win in a very pacey paddle that gave them a time just a few seconds behind Australia's men's crew! Slovakia needed to finish directly behind them in this scenario to take gold, but they finished 27 seconds down on Japan and almost 40 seconds behind the home athletes. This was enough to give the delighted Kiwi girls their dream result.

The Women's Masters title was a done deal as long as the Kiwis finished, and they did in style - locking Russia out of any wins during the championship to take a clean sheet and a maximum 1,000 points.

New Zealand's Masters Men had been equal on points with the Czech Republic heading into the Down River and the race for Gold overall lay with these two crews. The Kiwis responded in style on the day, using all of their vast knowledge of the river and its fastest lines to take Down River gold by a massive 1 minute and 10 seconds. The Czechs had a minute on their nearest rivals too, but gold overall went to New Zealand on a great day for rafting and a great day for the host nation.



1. Brazil
2. Japan
3. New Zealand


1. New Zealand
2. Slovakia
3. Czech Republic


1. New Zealand
2. Czech Republic
3. Japan


1. New Zealand
2. Russia