Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath did it the hard way but successfully defended his VL3 world title and Susan Seipel picked up a silver medal on a big day for the Australian team at the ICF canoe sprint and paracanoe world championships in Szeged on Thursday.
McGrath held on by a fingernail to successfully defend his world title, edging out Brazil’s Caio Carvalho by just 0.10 of a second to repeat the gold and silver result from last year.
It’s McGrath’s ninth world title in a glittering career that’s only been going for five years. He also earned Australia a quota for next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where the VL3 will make its debut.
“That’s the closest I’ve ever had, so it’s nice to be pushed all the way,” McGrath said.
“Caio’s always been there. Some days he gets a really good start, and some days he just doesn’t have the right go, but today was one of those days and he pushed me all the way.”
Seipel said she was feeling the fittest she has been for a long time, and made good that form with a close silver behind Great Britain’s Emma Wiggs in the VL2 final.
She also earned a Paralympic quota for Australia in an event which will also make its Games debut next year.
“There’s always little things that I think of now that I need to improve on, but overall I’m pretty happy with that,” Seipel said.
“Last year I came fourth, so to come second is a huge achievement. It’s going to be a real honour to hopefully get to race this boat in a Paralympics at the debut of that boat.
“I’ve been paddling Va’a since the beginning, but it lost a bit of ground because it wasn’t in Rio, but now its coming back again its going to have a great debut in Tokyo.”
Amanda Reynolds completed the successful day for the Australian Paralympic team, qualifying for the final of the women’s KL3.
Reynolds has been hampered with a wrist injury in recent months, but put in a strong race finishing second in the semi-final.
“I was a bit nervous last night about it all, after I stopped and looked at all the times from yesterday,” Reynolds said.
“So I’ve just got to get faster and I’m happy with the race, happy to put another one in the bag and ready to move on.”
There were also good signs for the Australian canoe sprint team, with Tom Green continuing his awesome year by winning his semi-final of the K1 500, and the Australian men’s and women’s K4 500 teams both progressing to the semi-finals.
Green said he’s enjoying being back in the shorter race.
“The 500 I still love, it’s a very good event, if only it was still in the Olympics,” Green said.
“Here it’s another race. Yes it helps me warm up for the K4, but it helps me get over that last 500 more and more, especially at this kind of level, there are things that you can’t learn anywhere else.”
Australia took the first important step towards qualifying its K4 boats for Tokyo with strong performances in their heats.
The men’s team of Lachlan Tame, Tom Green, Jackson Collins and Matt Goble finished second behind France.
“I’ve never been to a senior worlds, and to come here and see how big it is, how many people are running around, it’s a whole another level up,” Collins said.
“We went into that race knowing that we wanted to build from our heat to the semi, and from the semi to the final – we’ve laid a really good foundation. If we can build on that, we’ll be handful by the final.”
The women’s team of Alyssa Bull, Jaime Roberts, Alyce Burnett and Jo Brigden-Jones finished third in their heat behind the Hungarian and German combinations.
“It was a good first race, we had a really good start, so now we’re really looking forward to the semi,” Bull said.
“We’ve been putting our heads down and working really hard in Italy. We had a really good training camp and we’re just looking forward to stringing some good races together here.”
In other results, Josephine Bulmer and Bernadette Wallace showed big improvement in the C2 500, but did not progress past the heats, whileCat Mcarthur and Brianna Massiealso fell short in the K2 500.
Racing continues on Friday, 23 August with A finals in the women’s KL2 (Susan Seipel), women’s KL3 (Amanda Reynolds) as well as in the women’s K2 200 (Jaime Roberts and Jo Brigden-Jones) and the men’s K1 500 (Tom Green).
A-final times, Friday, 23 August 2019
KL2 W 200 – Susan Seipel: 11:10 CET (19:10 AEST)
KL3 W 200 – Amanda Reynolds: 11:15 CET
K2 W 500 – Jaime Roberts + Jo Brigden-Jones: 15:03 CET
K1 M 500 – Tom Green: 15:31 CET
Follow racing live via www.canoeicf.com
Follow results here https://results.szeged2019.com/competition/1/races
VL3 M 200 Results
- AUS Curtis McGrath 47.42
- BRA Caio Ribeiro De Carvalho 47.52 +0.10
- GBR Stuart Wood 48.42 +1.00
VL2 W 200 Results
- GBR Emma Wiggs 56.10
- AUS Susan Seipel 57.74 +1.64
- RUS Mariia Nikiforova 59.24 +3.14