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Rower Eric Verdonk, who won bronze at 1988 Olympics, dies after cancer battle

Former New Zealand single sculler Eric Verdonk has died after a battle with cancer, aged 60.

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The 1998 Olympic bronze medallist lost his battle with cancer. Source: 1 NEWS

Verdonk was a bronze medallist at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea, and four years later he finished fourth in the Olympic final in Barcelona.

Verdonk became New Zealand's most accomplished single sculler at that time, helping inspire successors like Rob Waddell and Mahe Drysdale, both Olympic gold medallists.

He won 15 national titles in various boat classes and was the first New Zealander to win the Diamond Single Sculls event at the famous Henley Royal Regatta. Just a few weeks ago he was awarded New Zealand Rowing's legacy medal for his contribution to the sport.

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'A very kind man with a huge heart' - Kiwi rowing icon Eric Verdonk remembered

Verdonk first represented New Zealand in the single at the Commonwealth Games in 1986, where he finished third.

He went on to row at numerous world championships and was until recently competing on the world masters scene.

Since 2017, he had been the head coach at Takapuna Grammar Rowing Club on Auckland’s North Shore. The club honoured him with life membership just before his death.

He is survived by his wife Mandy, daughter Sieska and son Hugo, also a keen rower.