Medal highlights and lessons learnt at World Champs
11 August 2014
CANOE/KAYAK: The ICF canoe sprint World Championships came to a close overnight following five days of racing in Moscow.
Unfortunately Australia was unable to add to their medal haul of 5 (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) on the final day. The Australians finished the event with one silver from Olympic events, being the men’s K2 1000m (Ken Wallace/Lachlan Tame). The K1 5000m that Wallace won is non-Olympic and the other gold, silver and bronze were in Para-canoe events.
A lot was learnt from the World Championships and there were plenty of positives to take away from it.
See below for summarised wraps of the final weekend of racing from Australian Canoeing.
Day 5 Finals Wrap
After a simply heroic display of paddling on Saturday winning two medals, Ken Wallace proved he was human finishing ninth in the men’s K1 500 A final.
In the same event he won gold in at the Beijing Olympic Games Wallace said he simply ran out of energy having paddled 4.5km prior to the final.
“That was a very tough 500 metre final. I woke up this morning feeling as though I had the speed there but I just didn’t have the legs,” Wallace said.
“At the start of the race I got out pretty well but as soon as the running speed came into it I just didn’t have the power there. I think yesterday may have taken a bit more out of me than I thought.”
NSWIS pair Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood fought off a head wind and racing from an outside lane to finish a respectable seventh in the women’s K2 500 A final.
They recorded a time of 1:42.887 to finish 2.952 seconds behind Hungarian pairing Gabriella Szabo and Tamara Csipes who won the gold in 1:39.935.
“We raced really well the whole regatta so to finish on that note as our best race I am stoked with that,” Flood said.
With Rio just two years away the selection process for the 2016 Olympic Games will commence next year and the Australian pairing are excited about their potential for improvement.
“We are very excited about it, we are a fresh crew as we have only had a couple of months training together so we are already talking a little bit about next year and it gets exciting so see that there is so many areas of improvement for us,” Brigden-Jones said.
Brigden-Jones also featured in the K1 200 B final finishing sixth in a time of 40.845.
The Olympic gold medal K4 1000 crew of Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear reverted back to their regular seats to win the B final in 2:52.442.
After overcoming the disappointment of missing out on an A final berth for the first time the Australian’s showed tremendous determination to record a world class time.
“To back up after the race that we had and to produce one of the fastest times we have done in those conditions in flat a 52 we are pretty happy with that,” Tate Smith said.
“It is a good way to finish and we still got tenth in the world so it is nothing to be ashamed of but the standards we set ourselves to win and then to not make the final it is very disappointing.”
Stewart feels that he and his teammates have learned from their mistakes and has a positive outlook looking ahead to next year.
“It was hard to pick ourselves up but we definitely learned from the mistakes we made and went back to our original combination,” Stewart said.
“I think we will be right back in it next year, we actually had a really good season and we had a World Cup win which was a first for us following a really good preparation in Szolnok.”
Western Australia Alana Nicholls put aside an injury riddled 2014 to finish 10th in the women’s K1 500 event after winning her B final.
Her time of 1:52.935 would have placed her seventh in the A final.
Nicholls has noticed that the top girls are now going faster over the first 250 metres and changed her race plan in the final.
“For me today I just wanted to go out and execute my race plan. I tried a few different things as I thought it was a good opportunity as I am at full taper just to see what would happen and things worked out pretty well for me,” Nicholls said.
“I was really looking for that finish line in the last 50 metres but I put everything into it and I am happy to come away with the win.”
Fellow Western Australian’s Steve Bird and Jesse Phillips set a new PB to finish fourth in the K2 200 B final.
The London Olympic pairing finished half a second behind Spanish pair Carlos Arevalo and Cristian Toro who recorded the fastest time of 31.225.
“I cannot ask for more than that really, a nice 0.3 PB so if you were to give me that two weeks ago I would have grabbed that with a lot of encouragement,” Bird said.
The boys were proud of their performance and are excited about the potential for improvement heading into next year.
Future prospects Jordan Wood (19) and Michael Booth (23) demonstrated their enormous potential finishing second in the K2 500 B final.
The Australian crew took it out hard and fast in the first 250 metres to lead the field but run out of gas with 100 metres to go.
Wood thought ‘it was a great race.’
“That B Final was a killer, in the heat and semi we had not been getting out too good and we just knew we really had to put it out there and just hope we hold on,” Wood said.
Booth said that he and Wood have gone from strength to strength in the latter part of the year.
‘I think we improved by ten seconds from our first time trial a few weeks ago which is obviously a huge improvement. We are just taking each step as it comes,” Booth said.
The Currumbin Creek paddler paid tribute to the impact Coach Anders Gustafsson has had on him this season.
“Anders has been really good for me this year sitting in the team boats and basically gave me that opportunity to learn and adapt to different people and it has been a really good year for me,”
The men’s and women’s K1 200 relays concluded the event with the Australian teams eliminated in the heats.
Day 4 - No Taming Lachlan and Wallace
The fourth day of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships has been a memorable one for Australia with Ken Wallace winning K1 gold and sharing a K2 silver with Lachlan Tame.
13 is meant to be an unlucky number but not for Wallace who saved the best for last on day four winning gold in the K1 5000 final (non-Olympic event).
At his 13th World Championships Wallace defended his 2013 title in what was a gruelling affair.
Four paddlers, Wallace, German Max Hoff, Frenchman Cyrille Carre and Marko Tomicevic of Serbia tussled for the lead before Wallace made a winning move attacking at the start of the last lap and powered home in the closing stages.
The Currumbin Creek star won in 20:12.981 to finish 1.023 seconds ahead of Hoff with Frenchman Carre half a second further back in third.
“It means a lot to me, it is a very tough race,” Wallace said.
The victory makes it seven out the last eight international K1 5000 races that Wallace has won.
The victory followed a superb display of team boat paddling alongside Lachlan Tame with the pair winning silver in the K2 1000 final.
The Australian’s powered out of the start gates to lead the field through the first 250 metres. They continued to work hard through the middle 500 but were overtaken by Slovakia before holding off Serbia to win the silver medal.
The Australians finished 0.853 seconds behind the Slovakian pairing of Erik Vlcek and Juraj Tarr who won the gold in 3:08.784.
The victory was even more special for Tame in what was his first A final at a World Championships.
"It wasn't our most comfy race, but I just wanted to get real angry out there, and I did," an exhausted Tame said.
"I died really well in the last 150, I think I nearly blacked out and fell in, but we got second and that's awesome.”
Wallace knew they could do something special even before the final.
"After the heat and the semi, it almost made us a little nervous that we thought we might go alright at this," Wallace said.
"All we had to do was do what we did in the heat, and do what we did in the semi, and we'd go alright."
As for the future, with Rio just two years away?
"A bit of training and who knows what could happen," Wallace said.
Murray Stewart produced one of Australia’s fastest ever K1 1000 times and a new PB to finish a respectable fifth in the coveted K1 1000 final.
The 28 year old got off to a typically strong start to lead the field through the half way mark before tiring and Czech giant Josef Dostal made his move to produce an emphatic victory from lane nine.
Stewart finished 1.862 seconds behind Dostal who clinched the gold in 3:25.092. Bulgarian Miroslav Kirchev and Rene Holten Poulsen of Denmark filled the minor placings.
In the other finals Bernadette Wallace finished 26th in the women’s K1 5000. Her final placing was far from a true reflection of how she performed today.
Wallace put herself in a great position early on to be in contention for a medal before coming unstuck.
“I had rudder jammed up in my boat. I have seen it happen to other people before but today is my day,” Wallace said.
“I am still very happy with how the race went and I could not have put myself in a better position to medal today.”
Wallace also featured in the K4 500 B final alongside Cat McArthur, Alyce Burnett and Jaime Roberts finishing fourth.
Unfortunately Australia will not feature in any 200 metre A finals on Sunday.
Tame gave it his all in his K1 200 semifinal. However following just a 90 minute recovery period following the K2 1000 final he did incredibly well to finish seventh.
Two boats will feature in B finals after Jo Brigden-Jones finished fourth in her K1 200 semifinal and Western Australia duo Jesse Phillips and Steve Bird finished fourth in their K2 200 semifinal.
Both boats finished less than a second off securing an A final berth.