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Surprise split of world champion rowing pair leaves axed member gutted

New Zealand has named its largest ever rowing contingent for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, with a number of medal hopefuls among the 32-strong squad.

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The two-time world champion partnership of Liv Loe and Brooke Donoghue has been split, with Donoghue now partnering Hannah Osbourne instead. Source: 1 NEWS

However, in a surprise move, the world champion pair of Liv Loe and Brooke Donoghue have been split up, with Donoghue to now partner Hannah Osbourne in the double instead, and Loe moving to the quad.

Loe was delivered the news Wednesday, and was still struggling to come to terms with the decision.

"Brooke is a phenomenal athlete, obviously what we achieved we achieved together, but I'm pretty hurt," Loe told 1 NEWS.

"I am seeking more justification at this stage. I've been told it's inconclusive and there needs to be more info, so it's hard to lay it to rest without having a clear answer."

Donoghue said she had "huge respect" for Loe and the move had come due to the need for more speed.

"About a month ago we had some in-house racing. It was sort of noted that there could be more speed to find so we went through a trial process and came up with a change," Donoghue told 1 NEWS.

Women's double coach James Coote admitted Loe would be "gutted" with the decision but believed she would bring a lot to the quad.

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Ahead of his fourth Olympics, Bond said Drysdale had always been the benchmark of elite performance during his time in the NZ rowing team. Source: 1 NEWS

Despite the obvious disappointment, Loe said today had to be one of celebration, as she become an Olympian alongside her new teammates.

"It was incredibly humbling how they welcomed me in and made me feel like I was already part of their team and I feel very grateful for that," Loe said.

Elsewhere, Jordan Parry will compete in his first Olympics after taking the single-scull spot from two-time Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale.

Despite Drysdale's absence, his influence will still be felt throughout the team.

Hamish Bond, who won two gold medals in 2012 and 2016 alongside Eric Murray, and now features as part of the men's eight, said Drysdale had always been a point of inspiration throughout his career.

"When I came into the team he was someone who I looked up to in terms of performance and thought 'well this is the standard that you have to be at to be an international rower, I either get that or near to that or I go home'," Bond told 1 NEWS.

Bond will be attending his fourth Olympics, having debuted at Beijing in 2008.

But it is the world champion women's eight, featuring sisters Kerri and Jackie Gowler, who spearhead the squad named for Tokyo.

"I think we're tracking really well and I'm just really excited for it," Jackie said.

The naming of the rowing squad takes the total number of athletes selected to the New Zealand team to 117.

New Zealand Olympic rowing team:

Women's single scull - Emma Twigg

Women's double scull - Brooke Donoghue and Hannah Osbourne

Women's pair - Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler

Women's quad - Eve Macfarlane, Olivia Loe, Georgia Nugent-O'Leary, Ruby Tew

Women's eight - Grace Prendergast, Kerri Gowler, Jackie Gowler, Beth Ross, Phoebe Spoors, Kirstyn Goodger, Kelsey Bevan, Lucy Spoors, Emma Dyke, Ella Greenslade and coxswain Caleb Shepherd (final eight TBD prior to competition).

Men's single scull - Jordan Parry

Men's double scull - Chris Harris and Jack Lopas

Men's pair - Stephen Jones and Brook Robertson

Men's eight - Dan Williamson, Shaun Kirkham, Tom Mackintosh, Philip Wilson, Shaun Kirkham, Hamish Bond, Michael Brake, Tom Murray and coxswain Sam Bosworth