MCGRATH SURVIVES SCARE TO POST PARACANOE WORLD CUP WIN
Paralympic gold medallist Curtis McGrath admitted he was “unfit” after narrowly winning gold in the men’s KL2 at the ICF Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged, Hungary.
There were also bronze medals for multiple world champion Susan Seipel (QLD), who had to climb out of her sickbed to finish third in the women’s VL2, and teenager Dylan Littlehales (NSW) on a good day for the Australian team.
McGrath (QLD) had to dig deep to hold out a challenge from New Zealand debutant, Scott Martlew.
“It just goes to show New Zealand are producing some very good paddlers,” McGrath said.
“I’ve never raced against him before. Scott was there when I first jumped in a kayak, so it’s pretty cool to race against him now.
“I’m unfit. It was a better result than I thought I would get, I think at the end I was a little bit wobbly.”
McGrath will have a chance of a second gold medal when he contests the men’s V3 final on Saturday.
Seipel has been battling a cold and severe laryngitis for several days in Szeged, but fought hard to take third behind British pair Emma Wiggs and Jeanette Chippington in the new Paralympic event.
“It hasn’t been the best week for me, being sick since last Saturday,” she said.
“So that’s the best I could do today. I have to be happy with just getting out there.
“There’s been lots of changes, it’s very different to what it was before. We’re looking at a whole new field, but it looks like I’m going to have to do a lot more work.”
Littlehales was thrilled with his bronze medal, a breakthrough result for the NSW teenager.
“To get on the podium, it was my goal for this year’s World Championships, so to achieve it three months early is just an amazing feeling,” Littlehales said.
“Just off the start, I knew it was going to be a good race. And when I looked across the line I counted two people in front of me, so it’s a good result.
“I’ve had the same ceremonial kit for the past three seasons and I haven’t ripped the tag off yet because I haven’t got to use it. I’m looking forward to ripping that tag off.”
In other Australian results on Friday, Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons finished fifth in the men’s K2 1000 final, and won their heat of the K2 500 to progress straight through to this weekend’s final.
K2 500 Olympians Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett also won straight through to Saturday’s final after a strong heat win, while fellow Olympian Murray Stewart is through to the semi-finals of both the K1 500 and the K1 1000.
Cat McArthur won her K1 500 heat to progress to this weekend’s semi-finals.
Racing will resume today, Saturday 19 May at 8:00 a.m. local time (16:00 AEST).
See all results, start lists and follow live streaming here: http://szegedcanoe2018.com/
RESULTS PARACANOE FINALS
KL2 Men’s 200
- MCGRATH Curtis (AUS) 41.340
- MARTLEW Scott (NZL) 41.501
- ABDULKHABIBOV Azazbek (UZB) 42.962
VL2 Women 200
- WIGGS Emma (GBR) 59.366
- CHIPPINGTON Jeanette (GBR) 1.01.632
- SEIPEL Susan (AUS) 1.02.554
KL3 Men’s 200
- YEMELIANOV Serhii (UKR) 39.379
- DE CARVALHO Caio Ribeiro (BRA) 40.506
- LITTLEHALES Dylan (AUS) 40.729