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Canoe team on medal haul in Moscow

4 June 2012

Australia’s canoe paddlers are showing strong signs leading into the Olympic Games after winning nine medals – five in Olympic events - on Saturday and Sunday at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Moscow, Russia.

At the final World Cup before the Olympics, Naomi Flood, stormed home to win the women’s K1 1000 final (non-Olympic) in 4:44.68 ahead of Russian duo Daria Eremina and Maria Ereminova.

The former Ironwoman champion, from the Manly club on Sydney’s northern beaches, handled the challenging conditions on the course, with a strong cross head wind a major factor.

“It was so windy out there, I was battling to just get my blade in the water,” said Flood.

“Pretty glad I come from surf, because I am pretty used to the wind, but even for surf that was intense.”

Fellow Manly paddler Murray Stewart got off to a flying start in the men’s K1 1000 final before being overtaken in the closing stages to win silver in the men’s K1 1000 final on Saturday, then backed up on Sunday to claim gold in the Men’s K1 500m (non-Olympic).

Also in racing on Sunday, Jo Brigden-Jones and Rachel Lovell claimed gold in the Women’s K2 200m (non-Olympic).

The wind played a significant factor in Saturday’s racing with the men’s K4 1000 crew of Stewart and QAS trio Tate Smith, David Smith and Jacob Clear finishing nearly 30 seconds slower than their time in Duisburg a week ago.

The Australia quad were no match for the Russian quad of Ilya Medvedev, Anton Vasilyev, Anton Ryakhov and Oleg Zhestlov who finished 8 seconds ahead of the Australians to win the gold in front of their home crowd.

Western Australian star Alana Nicholls continued her excellent run of form, winning her third medal of the World Cup series with silver in the women’s K1 500 final behind Russia’s Vera Sobetova.

Inspired by her home crowd, Sobetova blitzed out of gates to lead by nearly two seconds at the 250 mark and was never headed, crossing the finish in 2:05.261, 1.049 seconds ahead of Nicholls, with fellow Russian paddler Anastasyia Sergeeva finishing in third.

Queensland duo Ken Wallace and David Smith powered home in the last 250m to win bronze in the men’s K2 1000 Final.

The QAS pairing finished in 3:37.958, 2.7 seconds behind German duo Kai Spenner and Max Rendschmidt who took out the gold ahead of Russian paddlers Vitaly Yurchenko and Vasily Pogreban.

“There is a massive head cross wind out there and it is really tough conditions, but we have been told Eton can get like this, so maybe it is good practice,” said Wallace.

Asked about the venue setup, Wallace said: “The way that the Russian’s have set this up is amazing, everything is here, just not the competitors and not too many countries here so that is a little disappointing not to be able to race against everyone here.”

Other racing on Sunday showcased the improvements of Aussie paddlers.

David Smith and Ken Wallace claimed silver in the Men’s K2 500m (non-Olympic), while the pairing of Stephen Bird and Jesse Phillip grabbed bronze in the Men’s K2 200m final.

In other Olympic events, Flood and Fogarty were pipped for a medal in the women’s K2 500m, finishing 4th.

Stewart finished 7th in the men’s K1 200m, while Nicholls was 4th in the Women’s K1 200m, with Hannah Davis in 6th.

Australian Canoeing

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