New Zealand advanced all six competing boats on day one of the 2019 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Pitesti, Romania.
The most eye-catching performance was delivered by the Kiwi women’s U23 K4 500m crew of Alicia Hoskin (Poverty Bay), Danielle Watson (Mana) Briar McLeely (North Shore) and Britney Ford (Poverty Bay), who paddled with distinction to place third in heat two and qualify automatically for the A Final (2.40am Saturday NZ time).
In a highly-competitive heat, Poland crossed the line first in 1:33.914 ahead of Russia (1:35.804) but the women in black were determined to secure one of the three automatic qualification spots for a place in the A Final. In a tight battle for third, the Kiwis proved too strong; stopping the clock in 1:36.714 – to finish 0.137 ahead of Belarus in fourth.
Hungary clinched victory in heat one in a time of 1:34.439 with the New Zealand quartet the fifth quickest qualifier for the A Final.
New Zealand’s Olivia Brett (Arawa) cruised into the semi-finals of the junior women’s K1 200m with an assured display on the Buseasa Dam venue on the Arges River.
The teenager, who finished ninth in the A Final of this event at the 2018 edition, placed third in a time of 44.542 to finish 1.951 adrift of heat winner Veranika Leaniuk of Belarus.
It was mission accomplished for the Kiwi junior women’s K4 500m boat as they advanced to the semi-finals later today in sixth spot. Drawn in the third of three heats, the all Arawa crew of Tilly Pritchard, Cass Hetherington, Jess Nisbet and Pieta Luthi crossed the line in a time of 1:51.774. Canada took out the heat win in 1:41.196 to advance directly through to the A final.
New Zealand’s Sam Ferkins (Poverty Bay) also earned safe passage to the semi-finals of the junior men’s K1 1000m with a solid performance. Ferkins competing in the first of four heats posted a mark of 3:52.832 to finish 7.588secs adrift of heat winner Andras Redl of Hungary. The Gisborne-based paddler will take to the water later today in the semi-finals.
Kurtis Imrie continued the theme of Kiwi boats progressing to the semi-finals by placing fifth in heat two of the men’s U23 K1 1000m. The Mana paddler, who alongside his regular K2 1000m partner Max Brown qualified for an A Final in open company at the ICF World Cup regatta in Poznan in May, enjoyed a strong first half of the paddle before winding up fifth in 3:53.469. Augustin Rodriguez of Argentina was an impressive heat winner in 3:42.209.
Fletcher Moles & Jack Clifton
The Kiwi combination of Jack Clifton (Whanganui) and Fletcher Moles (Waitara) also booked a spot in the semi-finals in the Junior K2 1000m event. The duo produced a strong second half surge to finish sixth in 3:46.532 and will line up in the semi-finals later today. The Argentinian crew claimed the heat win in 3:31.339.
The day two competition starts on Friday at 6.00pm (NZ time), and can be followed via canoeicf.com
Five Kiwi boats are set to feature on day two. (All times NZ)
6.12pm – SF – Junior women’s K4 500m – Tilly Pritchard, Cass Hetherington, Jess Nisbet, Pieta Luthi – B Final 10.36pm A Final 12.12am
6.24pm – SF – Junior men’s K1 1000m Sam Ferkins – B Final 9.30pm A Final 12.21am
7.41pm – SF – U23 men’s K1 1000m – Kurtis Imrie – B Final 9.44pm A Final 12.48am
8.16pm – SF Junior men’s K2 1000m – Jack Clifton and Fletcher Moles – B Final 9.58pm A Final 1.37am
2.40am – A Final – U23 women’s K4 500m –Danielle Watson, Alicia Hoskin, Danielle Watson and Briar McLeely
Article by Steve Landells, Photos courtesy of Alison Pritchard