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Young tyros hunting open kayak success

Author -  Karen Simpson

North Shore's Briar McLeely competing at last year's Blue Lakes regatta in Rotorua. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media

Young tyros hunting open kayak success

North Shore's Briar McLeely competing at last year's Blue Lakes regatta in Rotorua. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media

briar mcleely.jpg 

North Shore's Briar McLeely competing at last year's Blue Lake regatta.

 

A handful of New Zealand's top junior kayakers will get their chance to shine on the open stage at Canoe Racing New Zealand's first Blue Lakes regatta of the season in Rotorua this weekend.

With most of the senior high performance athletes still having a break after August's successful world championship, this weekend's focus will be on the under-23 athletes coming through.

North Shore's Briar McLeely and Rebecca Cole and Poverty Bay's Kim Thompson were part of the women's K4 that finished ninth at the under-23 world championship in Portugal in July and will all line up in both the open K1 200m and 500m races this weekend.

Hawke's Bay's Elise Legarth and Poverty Bay's Britney Ford, part of the under-18 K4 at the world champs, will also make the step up to the open division.

Double world champion Lisa Carrington and the Olympic-qualified K4 of Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie are among those sitting this weekend out, targeting December's second Blue Lakes regatta for their season-opener.

That's also the case in the men's ranks, with only national K1 200m champion Scott Bicknell flying the senior flag this weekend.  Bicknell opted to skip the world championships and try to qualify for the Olympics through the Oceania championships instead.

He's racing the K1 1000 on Saturday and will go head-to-head with top under-23 paddlers Jamie Banhidi, Andrew Roy and William Wilkins in Sunday's shorter race.

Wanganui's Max Brown and Toby Brooke will also step up, with Brooke having finished second in the under-18 K1 1000m B final at the junior world championships, earning a ranking of 10th in the world.

The two-day NZCT-sponsored regatta has attracted 179 paddlers from all over New Zealand, up from 159 last year, from novice and under-14 ranks through to masters.

Racing starts at Tikitapu (formerly Blue Lake) at 8.30am on Saturday.

Young tyros hunting open kayak success

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