New Zealand enjoyed another outstanding day of success on the international stage by snaring two gold medals in a little under 90 minutes at the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup in Poznan, Poland.
First Para canoeist Scott Martlew struck an emphatic gold in the men’s KL2 200m followed by another K1 200m title for the incomparable Lisa Carrington.
Martlew kick-started the Kiwi gold rush on Lake Malta by claiming a comprehensive victory. After qualifying fastest for the A Final, the Cantabrian made a blistering start and quickly established a lead he was not to relinquish.
Crossing the line a full boat length clear of the opposition the Kiwi stopped the clock in 41.127 – significantly quicker than the 41.501 time he recorded when winning World Cup silver in Hungary twelve months ago.
Federico Mancarella of Italy and Paralympic silver medallist Markus Swoboda of Austria could not be separated and shared the silver medal in 42.467.
An elated Martlew said: “The final felt amazing from the get go. I felt really strong out of the blocks and I kept progressing the lead to the finish.
“I’m ecstatic to have won the gold. I’ve been working pretty hard back home in New Zealand. This last week in Poland I’ve had a tough build up, coming down with a sore throat and runny nose, so I didn’t know how I would go. To come out and win convincingly was pretty amazing.”
World Cup gold medallist Scott Martlew
Lisa Carrington unleashed yet another vintage performance to strike gold in the K1 200m and maintain her stunning seven-year unbeaten sequence.
The 29-year-old quickly assumed control of the race and powered away to an emphatic victory in a time 38.772 - more than a full boat length ahead of her nearest opposition.
Behind, in a close tussle for silver, Emma Jorgensen of Denmark, the 2018 World silver medallist, grabbed second in 39.864 just 0.016 clear of Pole Marta Walczykiewicz, the Olympic silver medallist.
Yet this race was all about Carrington, who added yet another gold medal to her sizeable collection.
“Today racing was pretty tough. We had windy conditions, although it did help with the times as they were pretty quick,” added Carrington.
“The competition at this regatta has been awesome. We’ve got to race the best paddlers in the world.”
Reflecting on the collective World Cup efforts of the New Zealand team she said: “Just seeing our other crews paddling well, including our younger girls and the men’s team has made this a really good regatta. There are a lot of countries competing here, which raises standards and makes you race harder.”
The K2 500m combination of Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan narrowly missed out on a medal by placing fifth in the A Final. The Kiwi duo were competitive throughout, crossing the finish line a little under half-a-second from a medal position in 1:41.350. Belarus delivered a classy display to claim a clear victory in a time of 1:38.366.
In a further illustration of the depth of New Zealand elite kayaking, Kayla Imrie produced an inspired performance in the semi-finals of the K2 200m to take fourth in 41.240. The Mana club athlete just missed out on the A Final by one spot and later placed fifth in the B Final in a time of 41.628.
New Zealand also qualified a further three boats for A Finals for the final day of competition, which begins at 8pm tonight (Sunday).
Following her success in the K1 200m, Carrington eased into the A Final of the K1 500m, winning her semi-final in 1:51.469 to advance second quickest. The 2017 world champion Volha Khudzenka of Belarus topped the time standings courtesy of a 1:51.009 paddle in the third semi-final. Imrie placed eighth behind Khudzenka in 1:56.313 to progress to the C Final.
Carrington then teamed up with Imrie, Fisher and Ryan as the quartet secured New Zealand a place in the A Final of the women’s K4 500m. In a highly-competitive semi-final, the Kiwi crew placed second in 1:34.244 behind host nation Poland (1:33.784).
One of the most uplifting Kiwi performances of the day was delivered by Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie, who on their senior international debut successfully navigated a route into the A final of the men’s K2 1000m with an inspired paddle.
The duo, who are also great friends, stopped the clock in 3:14.863 to finish second, just 0.068 behind semi-final victors Denmark.
Kurtis Imrie – younger brother of Kayla – said: “I’m pretty happy with the race. We improved from yesterday (and the heats). We focused on the third 250m to keep the boat running and to make sure the other boats didn’t make too much ground. It was then just a case of working together. We are both not the strongest K1 paddlers, but together as a team we can be fast.”
Brown was similarly delighted with the quality of their performance: “This is a very special moment for both Kurtis and I to make our first A Final at an open World Cup. We really trusted the process in our race plan that Fred (Loyer, their coach) and the two of us have worked on together and, I guess, we nailed it. The outcome is we made the A Final and we are hungry to give it a good nudge (in the final).”
Elsewhere, the New Zealand’s men’s K4 500m crew of Ashton Reiser, Ben Duffy, Zach Ferkins and Hamish Legarth placed seventh (1:25.239) in their semi-final to earn the reward of a place in the B Final.
New Zealand’s second boat in the women’s K4 500m (Alicia Hoskin, Briar McLeely, Danielle Watson and Britney Ford) placed eighth in 1:38.401, just one place shy of advancing to the B Final.
The final day of action can be followed on canoeicf.com from 8pm (NZ time) later today (Sunday).
See below the Kiwis in action on the final day of the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup I in Poznan. All times NZ.
Men’s K4 500m B Final - 8.26pm
New Zealand (Ashton Reiser, Ben Duffy, Zach Ferkins, Hamish Legarth)
Women’s K1 500m C Final - 8.44pm
Women’s K1 500m A Final – 9.42pm
Men’s K2 1000m A Final – 9.57pm
Max Brown/Kurtis Imrie
Women’s K2 200m A Final – 10.22pm
Aimee Fisher/Caitlin Ryan
Women’s K4 500m A Final – 11.14pm
New Zealand (Carrington, Imrie, Fisher, Ryan)