CRNZ Blog

K2 crew picked for World Champs

Author -  Karen Simpson

Gisborne's Darryl Fitzgerald (left) and Auckland's Zac Franich have been added to the New Zealand team for next month's canoe sprint world championships in Italy. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services.

K2 crew picked for World Champs

Gisborne's Darryl Fitzgerald (left) and Auckland's Zac Franich have been added to the New Zealand team for next month's canoe sprint world championships in Italy. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services. Mens k2.jpg
New Zealand kayakers Darryl Fitzgerald and Zac Franich have been selected to compete in the K2 1000m at next month's world championships in Italy, bringing the final team size to nine paddlers.

The K2 crew will join world and Olympic K1 200m paddler Lisa Carrington, national K1 1000m champion Marty McDowell and aspiring K4 females Jaimee Lovett, Aimee Fisher, Caitlin Ryan and Kayla Imrie, as well as paracanoe athlete Scott Martlew.

Fitzgerald, who finished seventh in the K2 1000m at the London Olympics with four-time Olympian Steven Ferguson, admits it has been a stressful year with a series of sports tribunal protests around the make-up of the men's K2 but he's looking forward to seeing what he and Franich can achieve.

"One thing that's never wavered is that pride in representing my country and a fierce desire to do the very best I can," Fitzgerald, the 24-year-old Gisborne paddler, said. "It's been good to knuckle down and concentrate on paddling in the last six weeks and I'm pleased the selectors have shown faith in the work we've done in that time."

Although he's competed at world cups in the past, this will be the first world championship for 26-year-old Aucklander Franich.
"I'm just excited to get a chance to race against the best in the world and to try and qualify a boat at the Olympics," Franich said. "It's what everyone aspires to and and some only get one crack at it so I'm definitely going to try and make it count."

The pair have spent much of the last month training with the K4 women's crew, under coach Rene Olsen.
Canoe Racing New Zealand chief executive Mark Weatherall was pleased with the final make-up of the team, especially after the performance of the Kiwi crews at the world cup regattas in June.

"Our paddlers picked up six golds, a silver and two bronze medals over three weeks, which gave the sport a huge boost heading into the Olympic qualifications," Weatherall said. "It means the K2 crew will be slotting into a really happy, positive environment when they get to Milan and we'll be doing everything we can to help them realise their Olympic dreams, either at the world championships or the Oceania championships early next year."

The world championships start in Italy on August 19.

K2 crew picked for World Champs

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