Sinkovic brothers claim first men's pair world crown

Croatian rowers bidding for rare feat at Tokyo 2020 after winning double sculls gold in Rio

Croatia's Sinkovic brothers claimed their first world title in the men's pair in Plovdiv on Saturday.

Valent and Martin Sinkovic crossed the line a boat length ahead of Romania with France in third place.

Now they are on course to join an elite group of rowers at Tokyo 2020.

Becoming the best

After two world titles either side of silver at London 2012 in the quadruple sculls, the siblings broke off to form a double sculls pairing.

Even greater success followed as they took victory at the World Championships of 2014 and 2015.

And then came their defining success, Croatia's first Olympic rowing gold at Rio 2016.

Having dominated sculling, the Sinkovics opted to switch to the pair which involves sweeping with one oar.

At last year's World Championships, they were edged out for gold by Italy's Matteo Lodo and Giuseppe Vicino.

But last month, they beat a strong field at the European Championships in Glasgow and now they are world champions in the pair for the first time.

The next challenge

The Sinkovic brothers will be seeking to retain their world crown next year in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria.

But their ultimate goal is Tokyo 2020 and the title won at the last two Games by the invincible New Zealanders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

Just two men have won gold medals in both sculling and sweeping.

They are Nico Rienks and Ronald Florijn who won the double sculls at Seoul 1988 before helping the Netherlands to victory in the eight at Atlanta 1996.

Two will become four if the Croats are successful in two years' time.

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