Our Australian Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe team have arrived in Szeged, Hungary ahead of the first ICF World Cup of the 2023 international season.
Olympic, Paralympic and world champions will headline a big field of competitors for the opening event, including the 24-strong Australian team.
Olympic gold medalist Tom Green said he’s excited to wear the green and gold again, and represent his country with pride this season.
“Putting on the green and gold, as Kenny (Wallace) once said, is like putting on your armour… you’re safe and protected by the nation.
“It’s really special, and not everyone gets to feel that feeling. It’s one of those things that words really can’t describe,” he said.
Despite being the reigning men’s K2 1000 Olympic champions, Green said this season presents new challenges, with the new K2 Olympic distance of 500m.
“We don’t feel like we’re the hunted, we feel like we’re still hunting. We’re striving to pursue everything that we were leading into Tokyo.
“It’s a different event for us this time around, we’ve got a new distance to work towards, so we’re just keeping our heads down and trying to tick the boxes between now and the Olympics.
“Every international race is a huge learning curve and I’m trying to make the most of it,” he said.
Reigning world champion and dual Olympian Aly Bull said the upcoming international season will be crucial as the team prepares for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“With Olympic qualifiers at World Champs this year in August, we want to make sure we have a good hit out at World Cup 1 in Szeged,” Bull said.
“For us this year is all about building towards the World Championships, which is where we’ve got to qualify spots for Australia to even compete in Paris.
“We have to perform this year, before we even think about looking at next year so it’s going to be a big season,” she said.
Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Curtis McGrath is preparing for his first international regatta since the Tokyo Paralympic Games, and said he’s looking forward to being back on the start line.
“It will be great for us to test ourselves against the international competition, but at the same time will be a good stepping stone to see where we are at and how we’re progressing,” McGrath said.
“There’s some really tough paddlers overseas, so I’m looking forward to racing and testing myself against them.
“The main goal of this season is to get those quota spots for Paris next year, and finishing top six at the World Championships is the way we’ll do that.
“Securing those spots is what we’re all trying to achieve, collectively as a team, so hopefully we can get that result and things are looking good so far,” he said.
The 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 1 gets underway on Thursday 11 May at 5pm AEST. For the full schedule – click here
Heats will be broadcast live via Planet Canoe’s new streaming platform Recast – click here to find out more
The finals sessions will be broadcast via Fox Sports/Kayo (see schedule below).
Saturday 13 May | 12am – 2am AEST | Live on Kayo Sports
Saturday 13 May | 7pm – 8.45pm AEST | Live on Kayo Sports or Fox Sports channel 507
Sunday 14 May | 7pm – 8.30pm AEST | Live on Kayo Sports or Fox Sports channel 507
Sunday 14 May | 10pm – 12am AEST | Live on Kayo Sports or Fox Sports channel 505
2023 Paddle Australia Senior Canoe Sprint Team
Fletcher Armstrong (NSW)
Claudia Bailey (QLD)
Ella Beere (NSW)
Aly Bull (QLD)
Alexandra Clarke (QLD)
Jackson Collins (QLD)
Natalia Drobot (NSW)
Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)
Tom Green (QLD)
Jakob Hammond (NSW)
Kailey Harlen (NSW)
Noah Havard (QLD)
Benjamin Manning (QLD)
Yale Steinepreis (WA)
Jean van der Westhuyzen (QLD)
Pierre van der Westhuyzen (QLD)
Alyce Wood (QLD)
2023 Paddle Australia Paracanoe Team
Mark Daniels (WA)
Dylan Littlehales (NSW)
Curtis McGrath (QLD)
Kathleen O’Kelly-Kennedy (WA)
Amy Ralph (WA)
Ben Sainsbury (WA)
Susan Seipel (QLD)