A 16-strong New Zealand team will take to the water for the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup I in Poznan, Poland from May 23-26.
The event offers an ideal opportunity to sharpen form on the international stage on the road to the 2019 ICF World Championships in Szeged, Hungary in August.
Last year New Zealand’s powerhouse women’s squad captured seven gold medals across the two ICF World Cup events and leading their team on Lake Malta is double Olympic K1 200m champion Lisa Carrington.
The 29-year-old Auckland-based paddler, who originally hails from Ohope, is selected in her speciality event where she will aim to extend her incredible unbeaten streak which stretches back to before the London 2012 Olympics.
Carrington is also entered in the K1 500m – the event where she won silver at last year’s World Championships – and also forms one quarter of the K4 500m team alongside Caitlin Ryan (North Shore), Aimee Fisher (Hawkes Bay) and Kayla Imrie (Mana).
There will also be high hopes New Zealand can perform with pride in the K2 200m and 500m events, courtesy of the Ryan and Fisher combination, both of whom banked gold medals on last year’s World Cup circuit. Imrie is also entered in the K1 200m and K1 500m events.
A more developmental K4 500m team of Alicia Hoskin (Poverty Bay), Briar McLeely (North Shore), Danielle Watson (Mana) and Britney Ford (Poverty Bay) will also represent New Zealand with Hoskin and Ford teaming up in the K2 200m and Watson and McLeely in the K2 500m.
Paracanoiest Scott Martlew made a huge breakthrough in 2018, winning the World Championship KL2 silver medal, and the Christchurch-based paddler will look to build on that performance in Poznan.
Martlew (Arawa) competes in both the KL2 and VL3 200m events and will be hoping for a prominent showing as he steps up his preparations for August’s World Championships and the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Paracanoeist Peter Cowan of Hawke’s Bay also competes for New Zealand in the VL3 200m event.
Other Kiwis in action include national K2 1000m champions and 2018 World U23 B finalists Max Brown (Whanganui) Kurtis Imrie (Mana) – younger brother to Kayla - who combine once again in the K2 1000m event.
New Zealand are also entered in the K4 500m event with Ashton Reiser (North Shore), Hamish Legarth (Hawkes Bay), Zac Ferkins (Poverty Bay) and Ben Duffy (Arawa) taking to the water.
Canoe Racing NZ CEO Tom Ashley says: “The first World Cup of the season is a great opportunity for our paddlers to test themselves on the global stage after a long summer of training and racing in New Zealand.
“Our elite women, and paracanoeist Scott Martlew, have performed very well in recent times and they will be looking to continue that trend in the build-up to the 2019 World Champs and 2020 Olympics.
“We also have a large group of younger paddlers competing. For many of these athletes this will be their first exposure to World Cup racing. They will be using this experience as a development opportunity, and to prepare for the U23 and Open World Champs later this season.”
The first day of action – all of which can be followed on canoeicf.com - will begin later today (Thursday) at 7pm (NZ time).