This was billed as a titanic battle between the Olympic Champion, Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand and the World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic. These two scullers have competed against each other for over a decade and friends off the water, on the water they are relentless. Croatia’s Damir Martin was the first to show. Martin won silver in the men’s quadruple sculls at the London Olympics, but he’s now in the single and showing huge talent. Synek followed in second with Drysdale moving with him.

At the half way point Drysdale did a push. So did Synek. Drysdale then went to 35 strokes per minute and took the lead. Could Synek match it? Martin was holding in there and got his nose ahead of Synek’s. Just 300m remained. Martin was winding. Drysdale had a slight lead, Sykek was holding on. Go, go, go. Martin was flying. Had Martin done it? A photo finish. The scullers sat there not moving. Waiting. Waiting. It took nearly a minute. Drysdale’s hands went up in the air. A fraction of a bow ball had won him the Olympic gold. Drysdale joins the elite group of two-time Olympic Champions in the single and is the new Olympic Best Time holder.

Results: NZL, COR, CZE, BEL, BLR, CUB

Mahe DRYSDALE (NZL) – gold

“Full credit to Damir, that was a hell of a race. I had no idea (where he was), I got the feeling he passed me, I threw in a few short ones to try to finish it. It is nice to win a close one.

It is pretty special, it is the one race I wanted to win and I won it. It feels pretty good.”

Damir Martin (CRO) - silver 

"I was waiting for information. I was happy when I realised I was second at the Olympic Games and my name is Damir Martin. I gave 1000 per cent of myself in that race. It's my first (medal) in the single. I moved into the single just two years ago, there is still more to come. I hope next one is another colour."

Ondrej SYNEK (CZE) – bronze

“I am feeling not so comfortable, today wasn’t my day, but I am really happy with the third place, it is my twelfth medal in a row in my rowing career. Mahe and Damir were much better today. But I think every medal from the Olympics counts so I am happy. I thought I was closer (to them), but today wasn’t my day. From the start line I had to push harder than normally so I didn’t have much power for the finish.” 

B-final

Illness for Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell of Great Britain made this a five-boat B-final. Egypt’s Abdekjgalek Elbanna got away very quickly and he still had the lead at the half way point. Former junior champion, Natan Wegryzcki-Szymczyk of Poland followed closely. Then the big Mexican, Juan Carlos Cabrera pushed into the lead. The final sprint had now come into view and Wegrzycki-Szymczyk was flying. In the closing sprint a 44 stroke rate saw the Pole get ahead of Mexico. Wegrzycki-Szymczyk crossed the line in a time just five seconds outside of the Olympic Best Time.

Results: POL, MEX, AUS, EGY, NOR