GLASGOW: Croatian brothers Valent and Martin Sinkovic underlined why they remain one of rowing's greatest double acts when they took the pair's title at the European Championships at the Strathclyde Country Park near Glasgow on Saturday.
Romania also celebrated their own dynamic duo on the first of two days of rowing finals at the inaugural multi-sports European Championships with Madalina Beres and Denisa Tilvescu striking double gold in both the women's pair and the eight.
Romania won three titles but it was the Sinkovic brothers from Zagreb who provided the highlight, adding a third European title to the Olympic gold and four world golds they have earned together over a decade of success.
Locked in a battle of the brothers with the silver medal-winning French siblings, Valentin and Theophile Onfroy, the Croatians powered clear in the dying stages of the 2,000 metres course.
It was, laughed 30-year-old older brother Valent, a measure of sporting revenge. "We said to the French team before the race that we will make up for Croatia's defeat in the World Cup in Russia. So we made that prediction come true!" he said.
The Sinkovic brothers won their Olympic title in the double sculls but decided to each trade in two oars for one and have made irresistible progress in their new challenge in the pair.
After winning world silver last year in their first year, they came to Glasgow off the back of setting a course record at Henley Royal Regatta, beating the mark of British rowing legends Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.
"This was our first big championship medal as a pair and we are very proud," said 28-year-old Martin.
Beres and Tilvescu had less than two hours after their convincing pair's triumph before joining up with their Romanian world championship-winning colleagues in the eight and winning again.
With Mihaita-Vasile Tiganescu, Cosmin Pascari, Stefan-Constantin Berariu and Ciprian Huc also winning the men's four, just six days after the same quartet had lifted the world under-23 title in Poznan, Romania surged ahead in the regatta medal standings with three golds, one silver and one bronze.
Italy's sculling men won both the quad title through Filippo Mondelli, Andrea Panizza, Luca Rambaldi and Giacomo Gentili as well as the equivalent lightweight quad gold with Catello Amarante, Paolo Di Girolamo, Andrea Micheletti and Matteo Mulas.
Russia's Ekaterina Sevostianova, Anastasia Tikhanova, Ekaterina Potapova and Elena Oriabinskaia took the women's four while Poland won the women's quad with Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska, Marta Wieliczko, Maria Springwald and Katarzyna Zillmann.
France were the sixth nation to strike gold when Helene Lefebvre and Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino won the double sculls in a thrilling photo-finish with the Netherlands.