A silver medal to Amanda Reynolds capped off a strong day for the Paddle Australia team at the 2018 ICF Paracanoe and Canoe Sprint World Championships in Montemor-o-Velho, Portugal, on Thursday.
All of the Australians in action have progressed through to the next round of competition, with more action to come on Friday.
Reynolds (VIC) fought hard in the paracanoe final of the women’s KL3, the event in which she won silver at the Rio Paralympics and took the world title last year.
But after a year which has seen the Victorian struggle with injury, she fell just short of Sweden’s Helene Ripa in a photo finish.
“I’ve only been back on the water for about a month,” Reynolds said.
“It’s frustrating, but it comes back down now to going back and starting again and makes me more eager for next year.
“I didn’t feel too bad for the first half of the race, but I guess not having that race prep makes it a bit hard for that last bit.
“I honestly didn’t know that I would be here for this one, because it was looking pretty grim at the World Cup. So just to be here is a bonus.”
Fellow Paralympic medallist Susan Seipel (QLD) missed out on a medal in the women’s KL2 after finishing sixth in the final. Seipel will have another medal opportunity in the VL2 on Saturday.
Day two of the Paracanoe and Canoe Sprint World Championships also saw the Olympic class paddlers join the action.
Alyce Burnett (QLD) in the K1 500 and Jordan Wood (QLD) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) in the K2 1000 both earned their place in the semi-finals of their Olympic disciplines with strong showings.
Burnett is ready to take on some of the biggest names in women’s canoeing.
“Last year I raced the K1 1000 and obviously won it, but that is a non-Olympic event,” Burnett said.
“That was really good for my confidence, but this year racing in the 500, it’s an Olympic event so it’s a totally different kettle of fish.
“I love lining up against all these really amazing girls, and hopefully I can be one of those as well.”
Wood and Fitzsimmons went out hard early in their heat and eased up at the finish to take a place in Friday’s semi-finals.
“We would have liked to go straight through to the final, but sometimes doing a semi can be a good thing,” Wood said.
“You get to execute the race one more time to hopefully really nail it in the final.”
Alyssa Bull (NSW) is hoping to take over the title of K1 1000 world champion from Olympic partner Burnett this year, and she made a good start by winning her heat and moving straight into the final.
“It’s my first time racing a K1 event at senior worlds so I didn’t really know what to expect,” the U23 2017 World Champion in the event said.
“I think I like the grind a little bit, I do enjoy the 1000 metre race. But I am starting to find my own a little bit more in the 500 so hopefully I can keep building on that.”
In other results, Murray Stewart (NSW) in the K1 1000, Tom Green in the K1 500, and Josephine Bulmer (SA) in the C1 200 both went through to the semi-finals in their events.
Jaime Roberts (WA) and Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) won their semi-final in the K2 200 to book a place in the final.
Action continues from the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships on Friday, including the men’s KL2 (Curtis McGrath) and KL3 (Dylan Littlehales) finals.
Also on the program, semis and finals in the men’s K2 1000, K1 500 and in the women’s K1 1000.
See race schedule here: https://www.canoeicf.com/sites/default/files/montemor2018-timetable.v7.1.pdf
Follow live stream on www.canoeicf.com
Relive women’s KL3 final here: