Jasmine Rayward has won Australia’s first medal at the 2023 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Auronzo, Italy.
The 16-year-old Queenslander won bronze in the Junior Women’s K1 1000 in a time of 4:04.35, behind Germany’s Caroline Heuser in gold and Hungary’s Hanna Peto in silver.
Supported by coach Val Henot (QAS) and Australian team leader David Smith (SASI), the Queensland Academy of Sport paddler said she is stoked to have won the bronze medal, and is already thinking about building on her performance next year.
“I’m really excited, I came into this competition really hoping to do well in the 1000,” Rayward said.
“I’m really excited for how it turned out and I can’t wait for next year to improve on this result.
“It’s going to be great [to stand on the podium]; I wish the Australian anthem was playing but hopefully next year,” she said post-race.
Germany’s Heuser took an early lead in the 1000m race to secure the victory by 2.30 seconds, but Rayward pushed her Hungarian rival all the way to the finish line.
“I thought that maybe she [Heuser] would blow up and I could catch up to her, but I just tried to stay as close to her as possible.
“The Hungarian girl was beside me and we basically just tried to race each other and she got me in the last bit, so it was a really exciting race,” she said.
Rayward very nearly won a medal during Friday’s finals, with the Aussie team of Claudia Bailey (QLD), Samantha Lourey (WA), Alyssa Bailey (QLD) and Rayward finishing fourth in the Women’s Junior K4 500, 0.26 seconds off the podium.
Junior paddlers Mitchell Tamblin (WA) and Chelsea Jentz (QLD) also recorded a fourth place finish on Friday in the K1 Mixed Relay 5000.
The Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championships continue in Auronzo tonight with K1 500 and C1 500 semifinals, before a full day of finals rounds out the Championships in Italy on Sunday.
2023 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Sprint World Championship will be streamed live via Planet Canoe’s Recast Channel. WATCH HERE
Follow the live results HERE