Olympians Coach Next Generation Of Olympic Sprint Paddlers To Asia Pacific Cup Win In New Zealand
Australia’s future Olympic sprint paddlers have successfully defended the Asia Pacific Cup after topping the medal tally at the Asia Pacific Sprint Cup at Lake Karapiro in Cambridge, New Zealand over the weekend (10-12 May 2019). The team won 30 gold, 26 silver and 17 bronze medals to win the Asia Pacific Cup ahead of New Zealand’s canoe sprint team in second and Japan following in third.
Australia was represented at the Asia Pacific Cup with a team of 34 athletes with every single team member medalling throughout the regatta. As a result, Australia was presented with the Asia Pacific Cup for the second year in a row after the team also won the inaugural event in Adelaide last year.
The Asia Pacific Cup is a regatta for junior and developing canoe sprint athletes in the under 16, under 18 and under 21 age groups and is the result of an international collaboration between Paddle Australia, Canoe Racing New Zealand and the Japan Canoe Federation with the aim to create an event for developing athletes in the Asia Pacific region.
International racing opportunities are key for the development of Australia’s up and coming Olympic paddling talent as 2018 Youth Olympic Games paddler Jenaya Massie (QLD), who credits her experience at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) for her performances now, explained.
“I love international competition because you learn to perform under all different pressure and it’s so exciting. Experiencing the YOG has been my biggest asset to racing right now. It has helped me to keep real about what I’m doing. The Europeans and other Internationals train fast and race even faster, so when I think I’ve hit a new PB I set a higher benchmark to reach because I know how fast the girls overseas are racing.”
Jenaya Massie (QLD) was one of the stand-out paddlers at the Asia Pacific Cup after winning the U18 women’s K1 500 as well as the U18 women’s K2 500 together with Phoebe Wills-Grace (QLD), and was thankful for the international racing experience after missing out of Junior Team selection earlier this year.
“I was truly excited when I found out that I was on the Asia Pacific Cup team. After returning from injury in 2018, I am so happy to see that it all came together at the right time to come away as the U18 Asia Pacific 500 champion and for the second year the U18 K2 500m Champs with my partner Phoebe Wills-Grace. I’m stoked with all of my performances and so proud of Australia for coming up on top and taking out the championships. The Kiwis held an amazing regatta, the venue (Lake Karapiro) was so beautiful and the hospitality was exceptional,” Jenaya Massie said about the event.
And despite the season ending for her now, it is events like these that motivate for next year as Massie explained.
“My season is done now, but I’m looking at doing some downwind racing in the winter for a change of scenery and then prepare for a huge 2020. Phoebe and I want to back our K2 Asia Pacific performance at the Asia Pacific Cup in Japan next year and then the same in Germany for World Juniors.”
The 2019 Asia Pacific Team not only made the most of the international racing experience, but also of the high-calibre coaching team which included Olympic champion and three-time Olympian and Olympic medallist Kenny Wallace (QLD), London 2012 Olympian Jesse Phillips (WA) as well as Olympic medallist and dual Olympian Ramon Andersson (WA). Christine Duff and Luke Haniford completed the team.
“We were very lucky to have such awesome coaches with us. Kenny especially is a true legend and hands down hero to all paddlers! He is an amazing asset to Australia’s Kayak Youth pathway. To have him as your coach gives you a sense of assurance that you’re going to do well. His calmness and wisdom in competition really is felt by the athletes. He’s super cool and loved by all athletes around the world. We are so blessed to have him on our team,” Massie said.
Ken Wallace, who was recently named Chef de Mission for Australia’s Pacific Games Team by the Australian Olympic Committee, will also coach on this year’s Olympic Hopes team and enjoyed the opportunity to work with the team in New Zealand.
“I saw some sensational work in New Zealand and the team did themselves proud, both on and off the water. Coaching throughout the week definitely kept me on my toes but the fun atmosphere and smiles all over the place made it easy. The job isn’t finished yet. For those continuing on to Junior Worlds or Olympic Hopes, it has only just started and I’m looking forward to continue coaching these talented kids,” Wallace said.
A sentiment that was echoed by Ramon Andersson, who will also coach at the Junior and U23 World Championships “It was a pleasure to work with the team and see the growth over the ten days on tour. It was great to see so many of the team bring their A game to the regatta and more importantly watching them how they supported and cheered for each other. It was fantastic.”
Jesse Phillips, who coached the U21 athletes on the team agreed and stressed the importance of an this type of international event, “It has been a real pleasure coaching and supporting the U21 athletes towards their respective events. There is some serious potential in this group of athletes which we will be working hard to support across Australia to further their potential.
“This event is showing to be an ideal international regatta to form bonds between Australian athletes, regional athletes and the coaches and supporters of our sport across the region. These opportunities and friendships will form the bedrock for sustained careers in our sport. And fundamentally, what the Asia Pacific Sprint Cup provides is a meeting point of culture and sport which unites people to a common goal – the true spirit of sport!”
2019 Paddle Australia Junior Team paddler Jesse Kneebone-Ellis (SA), who competed at his second Asia Pacific Cup, was full of praise for the coaching team.
“Having the high quality and experienced coaching had a massive impact on our racing attitudes and performances. They guided us through the difficult situations and put in the extra effort to make sure we benefited from the racing and were able to give our best performances come racing,” Kneebone-Ellis said.
“Personally, I learnt about recovery methods with limited equipment to be able to back up races during the regatta. I also learnt where I need to improve and about the steps I need to take leading into junior worlds. I’m excited to continue the process and see what we can do come racing at junior worlds in Romania,” Kneebone-Ellis added about his learnings.
Like most of his fellow teammates Jesse Kneebone-Ellis used the event as final specific race preparation for the ICF Canoe Sprint Junior and U23 World Championships in Pitesti, Romania, 1-4 August 2019 and was especially proud about how the team presented itself.
Jess Kneebone-Ellis, Eli Newton, Dan Kucharski, Luke Egger
“I was proud to race for Australia because of the high standards we hold ourselves to and the electric team atmosphere. The team raced well but we all felt the standout of the regatta was how much everyone was supporting each other with cheering from the sidelines and celebrating each other’s success. I loved the event and the New Zealand community was really welcoming and excited to be hosting other countries and learning about our sport in Australia.” Jess Kneebone-Ellis said.
Jesse Kneebone-Ellis won the U18 men’s K1 200, the men’s K2 1000 together with West Lakes club mate Dan Kucharski as well as the MK4 200 together with Dan Kucharski, Luke Egger(WA) and Eli Newton (NSW) as well as the mixed U18 K4 Relay 200 with Kailey Harlen (NSW), Phoebe Wills-Grace (QLD), Alisa van der Kwartel (NSW), Dan Kucharski (SA) and Eli Newton.
U18 paddler Kailey Harlen (NSW) continued her outstanding season, racing in the older age category and winning the women’s K1 200, K1 500, K2 500 together with Alicia Fay (QLD) as well as the U21 K4 500 together with Alicia Fay, Lucinda Kelly (QLD) and Jemma Smith (NSW).
“It was a great preparation event for our Junior and under 23 world championship team members and also provided valuable race experience for our younger team members who will race the Olympic Hopes regatta in Bratislava in September with the high-quality racing and strong competition we had particularly from New Zealand and Japan across all age groups.” Paddle Australia’s National Pathways Lead and former Olympic coach David Foureur said about the event.
And about the team he added, “the attitude and commitment of every athlete on tour was exceptional, they were a real team and supported each other every step of the way. They were very proud to wear the Green and Gold and for many this was the first step on their journey and I’m sure they will benefit greatly from the experience.”
“The Asia Pacific Cup is a great launching pad for those athletes racing at the next level later in the year and for the other team members who may not be going to World Championships or Olympic Hopes this year it was a suitable level of competition at the right time of the year. It gives them the opportunity to have a short break when they return to Australia and then have a very solid “off” season in preparation for the 2019/2020 domestic season. I expect they will be back at the start of next season stronger, fitter and faster and more enthusiastic and thus setting the foundation for their future in the sport.”
Five countries competed at the second edition of the Asia Pacific Cup including New Zealand Australia, Japan, Singapore and Cook Islands.
The regatta offered K1, K2, K4 in 200/500/1000m distances depending on age group, and consists of national junior development paddlers in three age groups: U16, U18, U21.
See all Australian medal winners here: https://liveresults.co.nz/competition/228/medals/list?club_name=Australia
2019 Asia Pacific Sprint Cup Team, Lake Karapiro, New Zealand 10th – 12th May 2019
Alderson, Jeremy (WA), Allen, Ashby (NSW), Hardwick, Daniel (QLD), Hyde, Tim (WA), Schooley, Toby (NSW)
U18 MEN: Brodhurst-Hill, Carter (QLD), Egger, Luke (WA), Kneebone-Ellis, Jesse (SA), Koekemoer, Tinus (NSW), Kucharski, Daniel (SA), Newton, Eli (NSW), Sheppard, Jarrah (NSW), Wilson, Kobe (WA)
U21 MEN: Bacchus, Reece (SA), Cunningham, Fletcher (NSW), Hammond, Jakob (NSW), Neville, Ethan (NSW),
U16 WOMEN: Bates, Demi (SA), Brown, Harriet (WA), Clarke, Riley (NSW), Good-Gerne, Angelina (WA), Richardson, Chaise (QLD), Rupenovic, Isabelle (NSW)
U18 WOMEN##: Fay, Alicia (QLD), Karlen, Kailey (NSW), Massie, Jenaya (QLD), Ray, Yasemin (WA), Schoene, Ashlee (SA), Smyth, Charli (SA), Van der Kwartel, Alisa (NSW), Webber, Caitlin (SA), Wills-Grace, Phoebe (QLD)
U21 WOMEN: Kelly, Lucinda (QLD), Smith, Jemma (NSW)
## Some athletes raced U21 at AP
David Foureur – Team Leader & Head Coach
Tahnee Morris – Team Manager