A pair of A Finals provided the highlight of the New Zealand challenge on a jam-packed second day of competition at the 2019 ICF Junior & U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Pitesti, Romania.
On a boiling hot day in Southern Romania, where temperatures soared beyond 30c, Kiwi Kurtis Imrie performed with distinction in the Men’s U23 K1 1000m.
The 23-year-old Mana athlete, who in May produced a breakthrough performance to qualify for a K2 1000m A Final at the open ICF World Cup in Poznan alongside Max Brown, once again impressed.
In the semi-final which took place earlier today, he engineered a terrific paddle to place third in a time of 3:45.222 – behind Australia’s impressive Thomas Green – to advance to the A Final.
Returning for the medal race in the afternoon session, Imrie, competing in lane nine, started with typical intent and hit 250m in fifth place. He passed the halfway checkpoint in seventh before crossing the line ninth in a time of 3:56.432. Green of Australia grabbed gold in 3:41.946.
In the concluding event on the day two programme, the New Zealand quartet of Alicia Hoskin (Poverty Bay) Danielle Watson (Mana) Briar McLeely (North Shore) and Britney Ford (Poverty Bay) placed an admirable eighth (1:42.808) in the A Final of the U23 women’s K4 500m final.
The foursome had impressed in their day one heat finishing third but the final was dominated by the strong European challenge.
In a compelling race, Poland claimed gold in 1:37.560 – some 1.178 clear of the 2018 champions Hungary, who had to settle for silver. Having competed in both ICF World Cup regattas in Poznan and Duisburg earlier this season, the Kiwi K4 crew will have picked up more valuable experience in Pitesti.
Elsewhere, Kiwi Sam Ferkins performed with pride to grab a respectable sixth spot in the B Final of the junior men’s K1 1000m. The Poverty Bay paddler, who reached the C Final at last year’s championship, had earlier produced a strong performance in the semi-finals to place fourth in 3:55.780 – just one place from a berth in the A Final.
In the medal race, the teenager produced a trademark aggressive paddle. At 750m he sat fourth before crossing the finish in sixth (3:56.811) to finish 5.235 behind race winner Philip Miles of Great Britain. However, Ferkins can reflect on his experiences in Romania positively.
The combination of Jack Clifton (Whanganui) and Fletcher Moles (Waitara) were eliminated from the semi-final of the junior men’s K2 1000m in ninth spot. The duo crossed the course at the Buseasa Dam venue on the Arges River in 3:53.710. Russia clinched the semi-final victory in 3:31.087.
The women’s junior K4 500m team of Tilly Pritchard, Cass Hetherington, Jess Nisbet and Pieta Luthi (all Arawa) exited the semi-finals in eighth spot in a time of 1:52.986. Romania took out the race victory in 1:42.900 but the quartet will have learned much from their European experience.
The day three action from Pitesti starts at 5.45pm (Saturday, NZ Time). The Kiwi boats in action, see below.
6.05pm – Junior Women’s K1 200m SF Olivia Brett – C Final 7.55pm B Final 8.00pm and A Final 8.40pm
Midnight – Junior Men’s K4 500m Heats – Lucas Thompson, Fletcher Moles, Jack Clifton, Robson Old
12.18am – Junior Women’s K1 500m Heats – Tilly Pritchard
12.54am – U23 Men’s K4 500m Heats– Ashton Reiser, Ben Duffy
Zach Ferkins, Hamish Legarth
2.30am – Junior Women’s K2 500m Heats – Olivia Brett and Pieta Luthi
2.48am – U23 Men’s K1 500m Heats – Kurtis Imrie
Article by Steve Landells, photo courtesy of Alison Pritchard