Jemma Smith won Australia’s first women’s senior title on an exciting day of racing in Portugal at the 2022 ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships on Thursday.
The women’s race quickly developed into a contest between Australia’s Smith, the U23 world champion from 2019, and New Zealand’s 2019 senior world champion, Danielle McKenzie.
Smith took control in the second half of the race to secure Australia’s first medal in the senior world championship women’s competition.
“I’m really stoked with that, I came into this race not really knowing how I would go because we haven’t raced internationally for a long time,” Smith said.
“Seeing the world championships being run last year, and Australia and New Zealand not being able to contest was really tough and I was itching to get back this year and put a good race together.
“I think we were all probably hoping for a bit more wind, the first half of the course definitely had a bit more assistance than the last half. It got really tough towards the end. I just tried to keep my head down and go as hard as I could to the finish line.”
McKenzie finished second, with 2021 world champion Michelle Burn of South Africa taking the bronze.
South Africa’s Kenny Rice won gold in the men’s race, with team mate hank McGregor winning silver, while Australia’s Mackenzie Hynard took his first senior world championship medal by finishing third.
It was a strong day on the water for Australia, with Junior athlete Jasmine Rayward winning the third medal, bronze in the Junior Women’s category.