Golden weekend for kiwi kayakers

Author -  Karen Simpson

New Zealand medal-winners from the final day of the world cup kayaking regatta in Portugal, L-R Lisa Carrington, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher, Kayla Imrie, Jaimee Lovett and Marty McDowell.

Golden weekend for kiwi kayakers

New Zealand medal-winners from the final day of the world cup kayaking regatta in Portugal, L-R Lisa Carrington, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher, Kayla Imrie, Jaimee Lovett and Marty McDowell.

2015 WC1 medallists.jpgNew Zealand kayakers are celebrating one of their best world cup hauls after striking double gold on the final day in Portugal overnight.

The new women's crew of Jaimee Lovett, Aimee Fisher, Caitlin Ryan and Kayla Imrie capped a memorable morning session on the Montemor-o-Velho course with a debut victory in the K4 500m, holding off teams from Poland and Hungary.

Their win came minutes after Marty McDowell's bronze in the K1 500m final, with world and Olympic champion Lisa Carrington adding the K1 200m title to the K1 500m crown she collected a day earlier.

"The goal was to put a race plan together and see how we went," a jubilant Lovett said.  "We went pretty well in the heat and stuck to that plan and the final was just about enjoying it, embracing it and putting a good race together, which we managed to do."

Although some of the top European crews were missing from the first world cup of the season, New Zealand's five-medal tally was memorable, particularly with the emergence of the new crews.

Lovett said the surprise K2 500m silver medal won by Ryan and Fisher on the second day had given the team a huge boost.

"We thought they might get through to the final but they learned so much from their heat and just nailed their final.  It was awesome to watch and so exciting."

World and Olympic Carrington was all class in her favoured 200m final, easing her new Nelo boat away from the chasing pack and finishing nearly a full second clear of Cuba's Yusmari Rodriguez.  Carrington clocked 39.524secs, with Rodriguez just edging Sarah Guyot (France) into third.

Although McDowell's K1 500m medal came in a non-Olympic event, it was still a major confidence-booster for the 28-year-old, who also finished seventh in the K1 1000m final.  He got off to a flier in the shorter distance and held on to finish behind France's Cyrille Carre and former Olympic champion Adam Van Koeverden (Canada).

"I can feel things starting to come together with my paddling although I still feel I can do a lot more, which is pretty exciting," McDowell said.  "That was a really good eye-opener and it was good to get some racing in."

There was also a quality finish from the final member of the team, K1 200m sprinter Scott Bicknell, who overcame the disappointment of missing the A final by winning the B final.

Even more significant for Bicknell was his time, cracking the 35sec barrier for the first time with a 34.976, which would've been good enough for eighth in the A final.  France's Maxime Beaumont won that race in 33.996secs, pipping world champion Canadian Mark de Jonge by just 0.14secs.

Canoe Racing New Zealand chief executive Mark Weatherall knows next weekend's world cup in Germany will provide a much tougher test for his paddlers but believes things are building nicely, heading into an Olympic year.

"We're still a long way out from Rio and there is still a huge amount of hard work to do but this is an emphatic statement that we're on the right track," Weatherall said.  "We're seeing the result of significant investment from High Performance Sport New Zealand and significant commitment from the athletes and we want to keep building on that in the next year but I really couldn't have hoped for a better start to the international season."

 Article courtesy of Dscribe

Photo Rene Olsen

Golden weekend for kiwi kayakers

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