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Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Martlew was given a call-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games just two weeks ago, after New Zealand were re-allocated two further places following the suspension of the Russian National Paralympic Committee.
A week away from his 24th birthday, Martlew missed qualifying by less than a second at the Para-Canoe World Championships but the Russian suspension has moved him into the qualification criteria."I've kept training all the way through and sort of had that hope there that it could happen," he said. "This is the first time para-canoe has been included in the Paralympic Games competition schedule and it is great to be a part of history. I could not be more thrilled to have my dream of representing New Zealand become a reality in Rio."
With his uncertain buildup, tactics could well play a major part in Martlew's race plan, when the men's KL3 200m heats begin tomorrow night (NZ time). The first two paddlers in the heat go straight through to the final, while those missing out will need to race a semifinal just 55mins later, from which four paddlers will go through.
It means he and coach Leigh Barker may have to consider how much energy to burn in the heats. The other factor is the prevailing wind, which rises during the day in Rio and is expected to create side-chop for paddlers; Martlew's surf lifesaving background could well prove a crucial point of difference.
Canoe Racing New Zealand boss Mark Weatherall was delighted Martlew has got his chance to shine on the highest stage.
"It's been such a roller-coaster ride for Scott but he's worked so hard for this chance and he's already made us all incredibly proud," Weatherall said.
The KL3 200m final is on Friday morning (NZ time).
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