Up and Coming Sprint Talent Impresses on Penultimate Day in Duisburg
The sun came out on the second day of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup II in Duisburg, Germany with temperatures rising and the competition heating up on a full day of racing and the first round of finals.
Rio Olympian Alyssa Bull continued her gold medal winning run in the women’s K1 and took out the win in the women’s K1 1000 for the second time in a row. Bull also won gold in the event at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup I in Poznan, Poland last weekend.
“I’m really happy to go two from two in my K1 races and to be able to get the win in at both World Cup 1 and World Cup 2, which is pretty cool,” Bull said after the race.
Bull raced side by side with Australian team mate Cat McArthur (SA) for most of the race with McArthur only dropping out of the medal ranks towards the end.
“I knew Cat was going to go out really hard and I was just trying to keep in touch with everyone off the start and then tried to keep holding on to the end. It was a pretty long race. Bit different to last week where we had quite a tail wind, but it was good. It’s good to be able to race a K1 event, but the K4 is the priority. It was a good excuse to get out there and keep the K1 feel but I’m really excited for the K4,” Bull said.
Both Bull and McArthur joined up with Alyce Burnett (QLD) and Jaime Roberts (WA) later in the day to race the women’s K4 500, the boat Australia is aiming to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The newly formed crew finished fourth in the heat to progress through to the semi-final.
In other final performances, Australia’s canoe sprint youngsters once again impressed with newcomers to the team Jean van der Westhuyzen (QLD) and Jackson Collins (QLD) putting in a strong race in the men’s K2 500 A-final to finish sixth.
It was a tight turn-around for Jean van der Westhuyzen, who had also made the A-final in the men’s K1 1000 where he finished eighth just over half an hour before the K2.
“It was really, really tough and I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like that before. Before we got to the start line, I felt quite alright and was thinking that we could give this a really good shot, but I don’t think a sixth place is too bad,” Jean van der Westhuyzen said after the two finals.
“Obviously, we would have liked to do a bit better but I think to be in any A final is pretty good. We are both pretty competitive and we would like to be up there on the podium soon. But I think it’s quite motivating for both of us to now go out, put in some hard work and get that boat on to the podium in the future.”
It is the first time on a senior team for both paddlers, who at only 20-years of age have a lot of things to look forward to.
“It was my first A-final internationally and a new experience. It was all pretty full on and just that next level up from the semi. You have that semi-final feeling in your head and then you got to take yourself to a whole new level again but I liked that,” Collins said.
The pair will race the U23 World Championships at the start of August next with Australia’s canoe sprint future looking bright given the current age average on the team.
“I think we really have a good group of young guys coming through in Australia at the moment. Riley (Fitzsimmons) is still under 23. Myself and Jean are 20 and Tom (Green) is 19 and I think there are a lot of good things coming up. And it’s funny that someone like Jordan Wood is considered one of the old guys and he’s only 24. It’s really exciting,” Collins said, who only started kayaking last year.
Part of the Gold Coast training group is also 19-year old Tom Green, who made the men’s K1 1000 A-final at last weekend’s world cup and added another impressive race in Duisburg winning the B-final.
In a powerful combination of youth and experience, Tom Green and Jackson Collins later in the day teamed up with Rio Olympian Lachlan Tameand London Olympian Murray Stewart to progress through to Sunday’s semi-final in the men’s K4 500.
The men’s K4 500 will premier at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and this weekend the team is trialling both a new boat as well as a new crew combination as Australia prepares for the World Championships at the end of August, which will be the first decider for the Olympic quota spots.
Olympic qualification is also what Rio Olympians Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood have on their mind. The pair ticked another box on their way to the World Championships in the Olympic class of the men’s K2 1000 by progressing through to Sunday’s A-final following a second place in Saturday’s semi-final.
“This is a big dress rehearsal for the world champs in August. It’s a pretty serious regatta even though it’s a World Cup. It’s Olympic qualification year so we got to be in the top six to get those spots for Australia. So, the severity of this World Cup is massive and in the A final anything can happen,” Fitzsimmons said.
“Last time we went through this process leading into the big qualification, Woody (Jordan Wood) and myself were racing off the K4 spots against each other and it’s quite funny to see how far we’ve come. We are leading into our own qualification in the K2 and it’s cool that we’ve come together in the K2 and it’s blended really well.”
Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan will contest the A-final on Sunday (11:57 local time, 19:57 AEST).
In other Australian results, Alyce Burnett finished second in the B-final of the women’s K1 200, while Jaime Roberts finished third in the C-final.
U23 paddler Brianna Massie and London 2012 Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones won the B-final in the women’s K2 500 at their first international event together.
“It was awesome. The B-final today was only our third race together but we have improved every race. We picked out the little things we wanted to work on and I think we really nailed it in that B-final which was awesome,” Jo Brigden-Jones said.
“That was definitely our best race so far. We are trying to put together the best boat without focussing too much on the outcome. I think that’s what we did today and it’s been a really great experience. I learnt a lot sitting behind Jo and I hope I can apply that to my future racing,” Brianna Massie added, who only joined the team a couple of weeks ago after a last-minute call-up.
Brigden-Jones and Massie continued on to race the heat in the women’s K2 200 and progressed through to Sunday’s semi-final with a fourth place in the heat.
“The K2 200 is a fun event, we both love that race and it gives us the opportunity to jump on the start line again. We don’t get many opportunities to race internationally and it’s pretty cool to get another race,” Brigden-Jones said.
Brigden-Jones will finish-off the regatta on Sunday with another “fun race”, racing the mixed K2 500 together with South Australian Matt Goble, who added another B-final win in the men’s K1 500 and finished the World Cup season in the singles with a personal best.
“It will be interesting. I have never done a mixed K2 before. They trialled it for the first-time last week and there are rumours that it could be in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and it will be good to get out there and see how we go,” Goble said.
Lachlan Tame and Jaime Roberts will also race this additional event.
In the women’s canoe events, Bernadette Wallace finished third in the C-final of the C1 200 with Josephine Bulmer following in fourth.
Racing at the second and final Canoe Sprint World Cup of the 2019 international season continues on Sunday with racing starting at 9:00 am local time (17:00 AEST).
First up will be the team boats with the women’s and men’s K4 semi-finals scheduled for 9:18 and 9:30 respectively.
|Entry 1||Entry 2||Entry 1||Entry 2|
|MK1 200||WK1 200||Alyce Burnett, B-Final: 2nd||Jaime Roberts: C-Final 4th|
|MK2 200||WK2 200||Jo Brigden-Jones / Brianna Massie|
|MK1 500||Joel McKitterick||Matt Goble: B-Final 2nd||WK1 500|
|MK2 500||Jean van der Westhuyzen / Jackson Collins: 6th||WK2 500||Jo Brigden-Jones / Brianna Massie: B-final 1st|
|MK4 500||Lachlan Tame / Murray Stewart / Tom Green / Jackson Collins||WK4 500||Cat McArthur /Jaime Roberts /Alyce Burnett / Alyssa Bull|
|MK1 1000||Tom Green: B-Final 1st||Jean van der Westhuyzen: 8th||WK1 1000||Cat McArthur 9th||Alyssa Bull 1st|
|MK2 1000||Riley Fitzsimmons / Jordan Wood||WC1 200||Josie Bulmer: C-final 4th||Bernadette Wallace: C-final 3rd|
|WC2 500||Josephine Bulmer / Bernadette Wallace|
|WC1 5000||Bernadette Wallace|