It was mission accomplished for the Kiwi boats on the opening day of the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Szeged, Hungary as Para canoeist Scott Martlew advanced to the final of the men’s KL2 200m and six-time World K1 200m champion Lisa Carrington cruised into the semi-finals of her speciality event.
Competing in blisteringly hot temperatures, which reached a high of 34c, Martlew produced a composed paddle in the second semi-final to clinch a comprehensive win in 42.90 and ease into Saturday’s A Final.
The Christchurch-based leg amputee quickly established control of the race, and finished more than a full boat length clear of Great Britain’s Paralympic bronze medallist Nick Beighton (44.65).
It was an impressive statement by the Kiwi paddler, who at last year’s World Championships claimed a KL2 200m silver medal.
“The kayak today went really well,” explains Martlew. “I won the heat and the semi today and I look forward to executing my whole race plan, and give it everything, in Saturday’s final.”
In the first semi-final the reigning Paralympic and world champion Curtis McGrath of Australia cruised to a comfortable win, recording a time of 42.05.
However, the quickest of the paddlers to progress to the eagerly-awaited A Final was Federico Mancarella. The Italian paddler, who placed fifth at last year’s World Championships, produced a blistering performance to take victory in a top-quality third semi-final in 41.66 to finish ahead of 2018 world bronze medallist Mykola Syniuk of Ukraine (42.48).
Earlier, in the heats, Martlew had powered to a convincing heat two victory, in 41.66 to be the second fastest of the qualifiers behind McGrath, who snared top spot in the first heat in 41.32.
Lisa Carrington (Eastern Bay) produced an assured and controlled performance to claim a comfortable heat three win in the women’s K1 200m.
The 30-year-old Kiwi, who has claimed six successive world titles in the event, quickly established her rhythm and crossed the line at the new-look Szeged sprint course in 38.53 – to finish a 0.85 clear of Hungary’s Dora Lucz in second.
The performance ensured Carrington, the two-time Olympic K1 200m champion, advanced quickest into Saturday morning’s (NZ Time) semi-finals. The next fastest time in the opening round was Poland’s 2016 Olympic silver medallist Marta Walczykiewicz (39.20), who finished 0.02 clear of Spain’s Teresa Portela in the fifth and final heat.
Martlew later returned to the lake to compete in the VL3 200m and eased into the semi-finals by placing third in 50.28 behind heat three winner Stuart Wood (47.93) of Great Britain.
New Zealand’s Pete Cowan also progressed into the semi-finals after placing seventh (52.19) in heat three. The two Kiwis will line up later today in the first semi-final at 8.55pm.
Also in action for New Zealand on day two will be the women’s K4 500m boat of Lisa Carrington, Kayla Imrie (Mana) Aimee Fisher (Hawkes Bay) and Caitlin Ryan (North Shore). The quartet won a World Championships silver medal – finishing just 0.01 behind Hungary – in a thrilling A Final at last year’s edition in Portugal and the New Zealand crew will once again be seeking a strong showing.
New Zealand feature in heat three at 3.51am with the incentive of a direct route into the A Final available for the heat winners.
Alicia Hoskin (Poverty Bay) and Caitlin Ryan also take to the water in the heats of the women’s K2 500m and Quaid Thompson (Poverty Bay) starts his quest in the K1 men’s 1000m.
View the full NZ race schedule.
Article Steve Landells. Photo of Scott Martlew credit Bence Vakassy/ICF