Australian brothers-in-arms Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons added their names to the men’s and women’s K4 qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 with a thrilling performance in the final of the K2 1000 at the ICF canoe sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary.
Wood and Fitzsimmons pushed the best pairs in the world all the way to the finish, securing fifth position and qualification for another two athletes for next year’s Olympic Games.
It ended a successful week for the Australian team, with Australia’s four paracanoeists also locking away slots for next year’s Paralympic Games.
Paralympic Champion Curtis McGrath (QLD) celebrated the one year to go to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mark this weekend with two gold medals and added world championship titles nine and ten to his unbeaten record, while Paralympic bronze medallist Susan Seipel (QLD) took home a silver and bronze medal. See full story HERE.
In the Olympic events, Rio Olympians Riley Fitzsimmons (NSWIS) and Jordan Wood (QLD) were left emotionally and physically drained on Saturday after qualifying for the K2 final, but showed their strength and character with a gutsy 1000 that saw them threatening for the podium.
“Coming into that last 250 we knew we were in a strong position, and we really just gave it our all in that last 200 metres,” Wood said.
“We executed a race that we are genuinely proud of, and I think it’s a great building block into next year.
“The semi-final for us was such a big race, and everything comes down to being in that final. We knew we were capable of it and we just didn’t want to let ourselves down.”
Wood said the performance of the women’s K4, which made the A final the previous evening, had given the whole team a lift.
“I just want to see the whole team do well and race to the best of our capabilities, and the girls race last night was nothing short of amazing,” he said.
“The whole team was there for each other, and we just wanted to see everyone succeed.”
Rio OlympianAlyce Burnett said even though there was a suggestion the Australian women’s K4 could still miss out, despite making the final, the quartet knew they were safe.
“The selection policy is very confusing, but we knew everyone in the top ten was safe,” Burnett said.
“But to make us extra safe, we wanted to be top eight. We got seventh, and we were happy with our race, but we would have preferred to be much higher.
“We got seventh last year as well, but we’ve got a lot to build on, the field is a lot closer than last year, we were only point two off fifth, so we’re very excited. This is not just for us but for Australia. And to know that we have a few girls going to the Olympics now is pretty cool.”
Fellow Rio OlympianAlyssa Bull said now the Olympic quota was locked away, each athlete had to step up to make the Tokyo 2020 team.
“At the end of the day we still have to earn our own places on the team, but I’m excited for everyone to be pushing the next domestic season,” Bull said.
“We have a lot of work to do. We’ll have sixth months now to get ourselves qualified for the team but it’s an exciting prospect to work towards,” Jo Brigden-Jones(NSW) agreed.
The men’s K4 of Rio bronze medallist Lachlan Tame (NSWIS), Tom Green (QLD), Jackson Collins (QLD) and Matt Goble (SA) bounced back from the disappointment of missing the final by winning the B final, safe in the knowledge they had also locked up an Olympic quota the previous evening.
“We wanted to make a statement to ourselves,” Tame said.
“We didn’t execute perfectly, we were in the fight yesterday, and that’s where we had to improve on from our world cups. We’d made up a good bit of ground on the rest of the world, but then just didn’t do the right things, it was a pretty bad feeling.
“But to come out this morning and do that, it’s nothing amazing, but we’re tenth in the world, and we’ve built something pretty cool in the last eight weeks. We’re a bunch of misfits really.”
In other results, Bernadette Wallace (SA) finished sixth in the C1 5000 final, and Alyssa Bull was seventh in the K1 5000. Cat McArthur(SA) finished second in the K1 500 C final.
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Australian A-Final Results
See all results here https://results.szeged2019.com/competition/1/races
CANOE SPRINT EVENTS
K2 Men 1000m Final A
|1||Max HOFF Jacob SCHOPF||GER||
|2||Francisco CUBELOS Inigo PENA||ESP||
|3||Cyrille CARRE Etinne HUBRT||FRA||
|5||Jordan WOOD, Riley FITZSIMMONS||AUS||
K4 Women 500m Final A
|7||Alyce BURNETT, Jo BRIGDEN-JONES, Alyssa BULL, Jaime ROBERTS||AUS||
KL2 Men 200m Final A (Saturday, 24 August 2019)
KL3 Men 200m Final A (Saturday, 24 August 2019)
|3||Caio RIBEIRO DE CARVALHO||BRA||40.70+0.66|
KL2 Women 200m Final A (Friday, 23 August 2019)
KL3 Women 200m Final A(Friday, 23 August 2019)
|7||Amanda REYNOLD – 6th country||AUS||50.46+3.17|
VL2 Women 200m Final A (Thursday, 22 August 2019)
VL3 Men 200m Final A (Thursday, 22 August 2019)
|2||Caio RIBEIRO DE CARVALHO||BRA||47.52+0.10|