In exactly one year’s time at the 2024 Paris Olympics and Paralympics, New Zealand kayakers will be setting their sights on adding to the nation’s rich history of success in Olympic Canoe Sprint.
With Olympic & Paralympic qualifications on the horizon at the upcoming ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Duisburg, Germany 23-27 August, the New Zealand Kayaking team are on a mission to achieve something that has never been done before. Qualify both a mens and womens K4 (four-person kayak) boat for the Olympics.
New Zealand are aiming to have a full team at the Olympics, with a maximum of 6 men’s kayak and 6 women’s kayak quota available as per ICF rules. This could mean up to 5 boats racing in male and female kayak events – one K4, two K2 and two K1.
In the Paracanoe, each nation can qualify one athlete per discipline. New Zealand paracanoe paddlers Scott Martlew, Corbin Hart and Peter Cowan are hoping to secure their spots for the Paris 2024 Paralympics in the Men’s KL2, KL3 and VL3 200m events. There is one final qualifying opportunity for Paracanoe events at the 2024 World Cup in Szeged.
All On the Line for K4 Boats to Qualify at the World Championships
For the K4 boat class, the 2023 World Championships is the only qualifying regatta for participation in the 2024 Olympics Games in Paris from 26 July to 11 August 2024. The K1 and K2 (2-person kayak) will have a final chance to qualify at the Oceania Championships in Penrith, NSW in February, 2024.
“This is the most stressful period right now, as we currently have no boats confirmed to go to the Olympics or Paralympics.” said Nathan Luce, CRNZ General Manager of Performance. “Our priority at the upcoming World Championships is to qualify both the men’s and women’s K4 boats for the Olympics. We have one and only chance to do that, and it is at this event.”
What the Kiwi’s Need to Achieve to Qualify a Spot in Paris
There are several ways for each boat to achieve this, one being a top 8 finish overall and another placing ahead of the Australian crew. While New Zealand has seen strong results in K4 boats at the Olympics in the past, they have never had both male and female K4 boats competing at the same Olympic event.
The last time New Zealand had a Men’s K4 was in 1992 (Richard Boyle, Finn O’Connor, Stephen Richards, and Mark Scheib). New Zealand did not have a Women’s K4 crew at the Olympics until Rio 2016 (Caitlin Regal, Aimee Fisher, Kayla Imrie, Jaimee Lovett), where they placed fifth.
World Cup One a Welcome Start to International Season
The Women’s K4 boat (Lisa Carrington, Alicia Hoskin, Olivia Brett and Tara Vaughan) claimed an impressive third place at World Cup One in Szeged in May. If they can continue this amazing form at the World Championships, qualification chances are promising.
The Men’s K4 boat (Max Brown, Zach Ferkins, Kurtis Imrie and Hamish Legarth) were a mere 0.25 seconds out from securing an A final spot in their World Cup One semi-final. Their fifth place finish in the B final, two places ahead of the Australian Men’s K4 crew in seventh also bodes well for the World Championships.
New Zealand’s Canoe Sprint World Championships Team
Our World Championships team has recently been announced and are doing the last of their preparations in France.
The K4 kayak men’s and women’s crews remain unchanged from World Cup One. In the Women’s K2 500m we are excited for the new combination of Aimee Fisher and Danielle Mckenzie to make their debut. Danielle Mckenzie, a World Ocean Ski Champion, is making great strides in canoe sprint.
Dame Lisa Carrington, five-times Olympic gold medalist, secured the New Zealand Women’s K1 500m World Championships racing spot. Ashton Reiser will race in the Men’s K1 500m, and Quaid Thompson in the Men’s K1 1000m event.
“Our athletes are diligently preparing for this year’s Olympic and Paralympic qualifying World Championships and aren’t leaving anything to chance,” says Nathan.
“This is one of our strongest all-around teams that we have fielded in recent history. Our athletes have been motivated since the completion of the World Cup in Szeged but they have remained humble and not let past results affect their determination to improve and set the bar higher in August.”
It is important to note that the qualification process we are referring to is for NZ boats within an event, not for athletes. Qualification of a place in any event by an athlete or crew does not guarantee that the athlete/crew will be nominated or selected to compete in that event at Paris 2024.
The announcement of the athletes selected for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic team will be no later than 24 June next year.