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Olympic rival returns to test Carrington

Author -  Karen Simpson

Lisa Carrington powers to victory in the K1 200m final at the World Cup round in Duisburg, Germany overnight. Photo by Balint Vekassy/www.canoephotography.com

Olympic rival returns to test Carrington

Lisa Carrington powers to victory in the K1 200m final at the World Cup round in Duisburg, Germany overnight. Photo by Balint Vekassy/www.canoephotography.com 2016 WC1 Lisa K1200 final.jpg
An old foe has returned to complicate Lisa Carrington's hopes of double Olympic gold, despite more World Cup kayaking success overnight.

Carrington's vice-like grip on the K1 200m distance continued, with her 12th-consecutive major title in the event in Germany, crushing the final field which also included fellow Kiwi Aimee Fisher.  But she didn't have things all her own way on the Duisburg course, with Hungarian Danuta Kozák edging Carrington in the semifinals of the K1 500m later in the day.

Kozák is a double world champion at the distance, beating Carrington in both 2012 and 2013, but opted to race in team boats for much of last season. She helped Hungary win world championship gold in the K2 and silver in the K4 in Milan last year, while Carrington created history by winning the 200m-500m K1 double.

Kozák showed she's still a force in the individual ranks, however, clocking 1min 47.792secs in the semifinal overnight, edging Carrington by 0.748secs as both paddlers qualified for tonight's final with the fastest two times of the day.

Carrington is racing both distances in Rio, with the World Cup rounds an ideal chance to fine-tune preparation.
"The fields are super strong now and it's always good to race these girls," she said. "It's really good practice, going through the nerves and the process of racing."

The 26-year-old was in a class of her own in the 200m final, however, overcoming a fast start from Poland's Marta Walczykiewic and powering away to win in 38.88secs. She was 0.592s ahead of Azerbaijan's silver medalist Inna Osipenko-Rodomska, with Walczykiewic fading to third.

Fisher was eighth in the final, recording her second personal best in as many days with a 40.560sec time and impressing New Zealand women's coach Rene Olsen.

"Aimee has had two greats day in the K1 - today she had the chance to race in one of the strongest fields assembled over the last few years and she showed she was not far behind, which is a great sign for the future," Olsen said.

WK4 warmup.jpgBut he was more impressed with his K4 boat later in the day, with Fisher rejoining Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan and Kayla Imrie as they finished third in their K4 500m heat and qualified directly for tonight's final.  Olsen reserved special praise for Lovett at the front of the boat, who helped the New Zealand boat off to a flier, before world champions Belarus and France came surging past.     "We've been working a lot all summer - in the gym, the pool and on the lake - at being really fast off the line and it was really reassuring today to see us beat the world champions off the line and hold them off for the first 50m of the race," Olsen said. "Now we've shown we've got the speed to be up there with the best boats in the world, we can concentrate on the rest of our plan towards Rio."

Marty McDowell was the other New Zealander in action overnight, finishing third in the C final of the K1 1000m after a disrupted buildup. McDowell has been battling illness since arriving in Europe a fortnight ago but has learned enough over this weekend to give him confidence for the rest of the season.

"I didn't race the semifinal too well - it probably wasn't a smart race based on how I was feeling - but I changed the way I raced quite a lot in the C final and it made a pretty big difference," McDowell said. "I was still struggling a wee bit in the last part of the race but hopefully the next week and a half will be a good little training block and I can freshen up into Portugal. I'm expecting to go a lot better there and fingers crossed, everything goes to plan."
Carrington's K1 500m final will be 8.39pm (NZ time), with the K4 final just over an hour later.

Olympic rival returns to test Carrington

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