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World record holder Robbie Manson quits rowing ahead of Tokyo Olympics

New Zealand's rowing community has been shocked this afternoon with the sudden retirement of single sculler Robbie Manson.

Robbie Manson looks on at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Source: Getty

The 31-year-old announced this afternoon he's hanging up his oars after 15 years and taking an indefinite break from the sport, ahead of next year's Tokyo Olympics.

“I am very proud of what I have achieved with the sport that I love, it was far more than I ever dreamt possible," Manson said in a statement.

"The friends I’ve made, the places I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had are what has made this journey so special and worthwhile.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me along the way - coaches, support staff, teammates, friends and family.''

Domestically, Manson achieved 20 national titles and was the current national champion in the single scull - a seat he's battled over with Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale in recent years.

However internationally Manson hasn't managed to achieve the same results.

Manson set a world record time of 6:30.74 while winning gold at the 2017 World Rowing Cup II in Poland but since then has faltered on the world stage, failing to turn early season form into success with fifth place finishes at the 2017 and 2018 World Championships.

Manson managed to qualify New Zealand's single scull for the Olympics at the 2019 World Championships but finished 7th. He later indicated to selectors his desire to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the men’s double, and was later selected alongside Chris Harris.

Rowing NZ said in a statement Manson departs with their "full support".