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Friday, 11 December 2015
Canoe Racing New Zealand has been given a timely boost ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with High Performance Sport New Zealand increasing the sport's funding by $75,000.
Five canoe sprint places have already been qualified for Rio, with Lisa Carrington (K1 200m and 500m) and a women's K4 securing spots through their world championship performance in August.
The increase brings the total investment in the sport by the national funding body up to $1.275 million, with CRNZ chief executive Mark Weatherall delighted by the confidence shown in his organisation by HPSNZ.
"It definitely hasn't been all plain-sailing for our sport this year but this is a pretty good way to end it," Weatherall said. "The funding increase will be very useful but perhaps more important for us is the faith that HPSNZ's board and staff has shown in both our processes and our strategic direction. It means we can press on with the cultural changes we're making with our athletes, which are already coming to fruition in the women's programme."
CRNZ invested in a full-time women's coach last year, with former Danish international paddler Rene Olsen taking control of the female crew boats. His influence was immediate, with Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie winning the World Cup K4 500m in Portugal and reaching the final at the world championships. An under-23 women's K4 also finished in the top-nine at the junior world championships.
Two new development programmes have also been introduced – Paddle ID and Paddle to Podium - which have added significantly to the depth in the sport, while the national regattas have all seen record fields over the last 12 months.
Now CRNZ is taking the same approach with the men's programme, into the final stages of recruiting a full-time male coach. A handful of the top New Zealand men will be looking to qualify for Rio via the Oceania championships in Adelaide in February, though they will still need to satisfy the New Zealand Olympic Committee they'll be competitive at the Games.
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