Classy Zach takes K1 1000m title

Rising talent Zach Ferkins executed the finest paddle of his burgeoning career to secure the open men’s K1 1000m crown on day two of the NZCT New Zealand Canoe Sprint Championships on Lake Karapiro.

The 21-year-old New Zealand men’s kayak squad member, established an early advantage and did not relinquish control, crossing the line a lifetime best race time of 3:38.31.

Zach’s fellow squad members, Ben Duffy (Arawa) 3:44.83 and Hamish Legarth (Hawkes Bay) 3:45.87 grabbed the minor medals.

Ben Fouhy, 40, the 2003 K1 1000m world champion, finished back in seventh in 3:55.59.

“I backed myself to paddle well today and I’m stoked to win,” explains Zach of the Poverty Bay club. “During the race I tried not to look around but I could see no-one in my peripheral vision. With 200m to go I looked over my shoulder and it was, wow! Oh my God, I’m so far ahead. I then just tried to hold it together and put in a little kick at the end.

“Training is going well and having a new coach (Tim Brabants), a three-time Olympic medallist, is also progressing nicely.”

Zach later translated his form in the K1 1000m boat to the K1 500m by advancing quickest into Sunday’s final from the heats. 

Looking in total control, Zach stopped the clock in 1:48.15 to finish comfortable clear of Ashton Reiser (1:53.32) – who was 0.25 clear of Taris Harker (Karapiro). Also navigating a direct route to the final were heat one and heat three winners Ben Duffy of Arawa (1:52.05) and his club-mate Fred Teear (1:54.74), respectively.

Later in the semi-finals, Taris Harker (Karapiro) in 1:50.72 and open men’s K1 200m champion Ashton Reiser (North Shore) 1:53.54 were victorious to book their spot in what could prove a compelling final.

Ben Duffy and Hamish Legarth (Hawkes Bay) formed an impressive combination at Blue Lake 2 in December and the duo followed up on that form to claim a decisive victory in the open men’s K2 1000m final.

Less than an hour after the duo secured the minor medals in the K1 1000m event, Duffy and Legarth cruised to the title in a time of 3:29.51. Fred Teear and Ashton Resier (North Shore) grabbed the silver 3:34.34 with the Wanganui pair of Toby Brooke and Jack Clifton (3:38.82) rounding out the podium positions.

Hamish Legarth was satisfied winning bronze in the K1 1000m and delighted to bank gold in the K2 1000m alongside Duffy.

“It is definitely good to win a gold medal around my neck,” explains Hamish. “Leading up the trials (next week) we’ve done a lot of work together and we’ve been going well. It felt good out there today, and it works so well because we’ve been used the skills we learned together in the K4 boat.” 

Following the retention of her national K1 200m title on Friday, double Olympic champion Lisa Carrington (Eastern Bay) was back on the water in the heats of the open women’s K1 500m heats. The ten-time world champion – competing at an overcast Lake Karapiro – cruised to victory in heat two in 1:54.74 to earn a direct passage into the A Final which takes place at 9am on Sunday.

Caitlin Ryan looked comfortable in finishing second in 1:59.73 with Kayla Imrie third (2:03.16). In heat one, K1 200m silver medallist Aimee Fisher also looked impressive, crossing the line first in 1:58.40 well clear of second placed Rebecca Cole (2:09.36). 

Alex Bermingham and Samalulu Clifton (North Shore) proved too strong for the rest to secure gold in the open women’s K2 500m final – claiming an assured win in 1:57.67. 

Elise Legarth and Rochelle Austin also competing for the North Shore club secured silver in 2:01.03 with Britney Ford and Kim Thompson (Poverty Bay) earning bronze in 2:02.51.

In the age groups, Thomas MacGibbon of the Arawa club enjoyed a dream day to secure a hat-trick of gold medals. After romping to victory in the men’s U18 K1 1000m final he then stormed to success in the K2 1000m event alongside Alex Hickman. He then rounded off a perfect day to strike gold in the K4 500m with the Poverty Bay club. 

Zane Mills-Nossiter of the Wanganui club added two further gold medals to the pair he secured on Friday by claiming the boys U16 K1 500m and K2 500m titles alongside Angus Sewell. 

In the women’s under-18 division, Pieta Luthi added a further gold to the three she snared on day one of the regatta as part of the triumphant Arawa club in the U18 K4 500m.

Madison Garrett also racked up a fourth gold medal of the regatta by featuring in Arawa’s successful U16 K4 500m crew to add to her trio of victories in the 200m events on Friday. 

In the girls U14 division Yannicka Tinirau of the Cook Islands continued her perfect record by adding K2 500m and K4 500m titles – the latter with the Arawa Club – to her three gold medals won on Friday. 

The highlight of the third and final day of the programme at the 2020 NZCT New Zealand Canoe Sprint Championships on Sunday will be the open women’s K1 500m final at 9am featuring Lisa Carrington. The open men’s K1 500m final takes place at 9.12am. 

The action begins at 8.30am tomorrow.

Up to the minute draw and results of the 2020 NZCT New Zealand Canoe Sprint Championships can be found via our App (find Canoe NZ in the Play Store – free to download). Or check the Live Results Website.

Images: Vera Bucsu

Article: Steve Landells