London 2012 - Hunter: Duo will overhaul Kiwis
Olympic champion Mark Hunter insists it is a question of when not if Andy Triggs-Hodge and Pete Reed overhaul their Kiwi rivals on the road to London 2012.
Since stepping out of the gold medal-winning four after Beijing to form the Great Britain pair, Triggs-Hodge and Reed have suffered 13 successive major defeats at the hands of New Zealand’s Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
Triggs-Hodge and Reed almost ended their losing streak at the November’s World Championships only to be taken in the closing stages and left to settle for silver by 0.32 seconds.
Speculation is still rife that the pair will be drafted back into the four but Hunter, who won lightweight gold in Beijing before coming out of retirement to dominate last year’s worlds, has tipped the duo to get in front and stay in front this year.
“When we do stuff as a whole squad we have a pecking order of who is top and who is second on percentages and they are always up there and they are a class act but they haven’t quite overhauled the kiwis yet,” said Hunter.
“I’m sure they will though and they will keep persevering to do that and when they do I am sure the Kiwis won’t come back because to break that losing streak will be massive.
“The Kiwis are on that confidence thing of not losing and when it does happen that is when you know who champions are because we had that in Lausanne and we lost for the first time this season but it is about how you deal with that and come back.
“They’re two strong guys Andy and Pete and I am sure they will get it right when it matters.”
If they stay together Reed and Triggs-Hodge can rubber-stamp their place at 2012 with a top-ten finish at August’s World Championships in Slovenia.
Hunter is confident the pair can end a nightmare 24 months by turning the tables on New Zealand later this year – but admits Triggs-Hodge and Reed must stick together to realise their dream.
“It makes it exciting because we are used to seeing Brits in the heavyweights winning everything,” added Hunter.
“But now they have been challenged it really makes them realise how hard they have to work and what is at stake if they get it right and if they get it wrong and I’m pretty confident they’ll get it right when it matters.
“Part of being in a team and working in a unit is helping each other through because it is not always going to be plain sailing and glamorous.
“You go through the hard times and the dark times when you are both on your knees in training and you’ve got to pull each other up and go and do another piece or crawl out of bed in the morning and get down to the lake and go out and do 20k on the water.
“It is not glamorous, the racing part is but the stuff behind the scenes is not pretty at all. That is where all the hard work is done so we can go and perform when we need to.”