The Australian Sprint Kayak and Paracanoe team have made history, topping the medal tally at the 2023 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships.

It was the most successful World Championships campaign by the Australian team to date, with four gold, three silver and one bronze medal.

Not only was the Australians campaign highlighted by the medal haul, but also five women’s, six men’s and three paracanoe quotas achieved for next years’ Paris Games.

Young gun Yale Steinepreis showed nerves of steel in the women’s K1 200 final, winning silver in a fast and furious race.

After winning her heat and semi final earlier in the week, Steinepreis was eager to continue her form in her final race of the World Championships.

The second place was a great result for the West Australian, who crossed the line behind 9-time world champion, New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington.

“It feels pretty awesome, I’m pretty stoked to win silver. I’d rather race Lisa and come second, than do a race without her. It’s so cool to see her put on that performance,” Steinepreis said.

“I love that we come together [as the Australian team], the coaches all support each other…I think it’s a great team to be a part of and as we keep going forward it just keeps getting more exciting,” she said.

Dual Paralympian Curtis McGrath added another medal to his World Championships haul, picking up bronze in the men’s VL3 200 final.

McGrath backed up from his gold medal in the kayak, to finish third, and also earn another Paralympic quota for the Australian team.

“It’s been a big week, lots of racing and the competition has really stepped up. It’s nice to finish with the bronze medal and another quota spot,” McGrath said.

“Really looking forward to working on what I can improve to get to the Paris [Paralympics]. It’s all about building up to the pinnacle of our sport, the Paralympic Games.

“There’s been lots of smiles in the tent this week, which has been great to be a part of and wearing the green and gold with our squad.

“It’s been a magical time, we’ve really enjoyed our time here in Duisburg, and I can’t wait to see what we produce next year at the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” he said.

Aly Bull and Jackson Collins stood on the Mixed K2 500 podium for a second year in a row, winning silver in the final event for the Australian team.

Collins said he was stoked to be able to round out what’s been an amazing regatta for the Australian team.

“It was so tough, we had a really good start to the race. We knew we had really fast crews that were going to be really quick in the first half of the race, and we knew that our strength was in the back end,” Collins said.

“To put ourselves in the race in the first 250 meters like we did is something that I’m really proud of, and we raced as hard as we could.

“It came down to the last 10 metres and I’m really proud of that result,” he said.

“I absolutely love the Mixed K2, I say thank you to Jacko so much for paddling with me, but he says it straight back, so I know I must be doing an alright job in the front,” Bull said.

“I love this event, and I really do hope to see it on an Olympic program one day soon.

“It’s such an exciting event, maybe we’re a bit biased, but I’m hoping it will stick around,” she said.

Paddle Australia National High Performance Director Kim Crane said she was extremely proud of the whole Australian team for their efforts and performances in Duisburg this week.

“We’re naturally wired to look at the medal tally and performances after a critical benchmark event. Our achievements here have been outstanding; and it’s fantastic to celebrate that,” Crane said. 

“However, what I reflect on the most with great pride, is the courage it’s taken for this team to be here competing in the arena. When you understand the work behind the strategy, the critical conversations, the big decisions, the commitment, the relentless hours of work, the growth in our people as a whole and the individual personal challenges that have been overcome by our athletes, coaches, and support staff; then our results here mean so much to us as a group and as a National High Performance Program.

“The standard of racing here on the world stage is absolutely cut throat. We must continue to strive for excellence in everything we do, as we’re now talking about tenths of a second between placings!

“With the majority of our Olympic and Paralympic quota spots achieved here in Duisburg, we can now focus on the next phase of our preparation. A campaign of this scale cannot be done without the support of our Australian High Performance System National Network partners, so we thank them and hope they too are proud of their impact.

“The first step of that is World Cup 3 next week, which is a great opportunity for our athletes and staff to immediately shift their thoughts to what the Paris Olympic & Paralympic environment is going to look and feel like,” she said.

The Australian Sprint Kayak and Paracanoe team will now head to Paris for the final event of the international season, World Cup 3. The event will double as a test event for next years’ Olympic and Paralympic Games.

For the full schedule and results – click here

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