Tom Green Amongst Next generation of Sporting Stars to Get Gold Medal Advice

Paddle Australia’s dual 2019 U23 World Champion and up and coming canoe sprint talent Tom Green (QLD) is amongst five of Australia’s most promising young athletes who will benefit from the wealth of experience of our nation’s very best as a part of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2020 Scholarship and Mentoring Program.

The 20-year old is amongst this year’s SAHOF scholarship recipients and as part of the scholarship Green will be mentored by Olympic gold medallist Grant Hackett OAM.

“It is an honour to receive a SAHOF Scholarship and to have been recognised by my peers. Being mentored by Grant Hackett, a sporting great, is a privilege that will help make my sporting dreams a reality,” Tom Green said.

“The opportunity to learn from someone who has been there and who has experienced the ups and downs of elite competition and can share their lessons learned with me is simply priceless. I look forward to making the most out of this opportunity and I thank everyone involved for their consideration. I hope to one day be able to mentor others to help them chase their dreams no matter how big.”

Now in its 14thyear, the program is designed to help young Australians reach the highest levels of their sport, by providing encouragement and funding over a 14-month period.

“I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to help guide Tom through the challenges he faces as an athlete. Providing perspective through experience allows any athlete a greater chance of reaching their full potential,” Grant Hackett OAM said.

The five athletes chosen for 2020 include Tokyo Olympic skateboarding aspirant Hayley Wilson, featherweight boxer Jack Denahy, two-time world junior track cycling champion Luke Plapp, world under 17 water ski champion Sade Fergusonand under 23 kayak world champion Tom Green.

The five young athletes receive one-on-one personal mentoring by a current member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame along with a $5,000 sporting expenses grant.

Mentors include Olympic gold medallists Libby Trickett OAM and Grant Hackett OAM, squash world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald AM, surf lifesaving champion Kristy Munroe AM and Australian football legend Kevin Sheedy AO.

“What well deserved recognition of our up and coming paddling star Tom Green to be chosen for support through one of Australia’s most prestigious scholarship programs. Working with an athlete and role-model like Grant Hackett will be a great opportunity for Tom to continue to grow both as an athlete and as a person,” Phil Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Paddle Australia said. 

“The Sport Australia Hall of Fame scholarship tops off an amazing season for Tom. In an impressive last few weeks he has won two gold medals at the U23 canoe sprint world championships, made the K1 final in only his second senior world championships final and secured a quota place for the Olympic Games for Australia through his performance. We are confident that this scholarship will be a fantastic opportunity to progress his career even further.”

With one month to go until the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Gala Dinner,the successful recipients will be presented their scholarships by their respective mentors on Thursday, 10th October 2019at Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Tom Green took home the U23 World Championships title in the men’s K1 500 as well as in the men’s K4 500 this year. He was also part of the K4 team of Lachlan Tame, Jackson Collins and Matt Goble, that secured an Olympic quota spot for Tokyo 2020 at the 2019 ICF canoe sprint world championships in August.

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame 2020 Scholarship and Mentoring Program

Athlete Sport Age Location Mentor

Jack Denahy






Buninyong, VIC


Sarah Fitz-Gerald AM


Sade Ferguson


Water Skiing




Roma, QLD


Kristy Munroe AM Surf Lifesaving


Tom Green






Mudgeeraba, QLD


Grant Hackett OAM


Luke Plapp






Ingle Farm, SA


Libby Trickett OAM




Hayley Wilson






Mansfield, VIC


Kevin Sheedy AO
Australian Football


Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair John Bertrand AO said; “What an opportunity for these aspiring champions to receive a turbo boost into the real world of high-end performance sport from some of our countries greatest sportsmen and sportswomen.

All that knowledge and wisdom is now available directly with one-on-one mentoring by Members of the Sport Australia Hall of the Fame.  The impact on these young dream builders will be profound.”

About the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program 

The Sport Australia Hall of Fame’s Vision is to preserve and celebrate the history of Australian Sport and to inspire all Australians to achieve their potential both in sport and life.

The Scholarship and Mentoring Program is one opportunity to continue achieving our vision by helping young Australians achieve at the highest level of their sport and to inspire the next generation to achieve their potential both in sport and life.

Since the introduction of the program in 2006, 73 young Australian athletes (76 Scholarships) (view full Scholarship list here)across 34 sports and 50 Members as mentors have benefited from the opportunity of a lifetime to draw on the experience and wisdom of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Members in addition to the valuable cash grant.

Notable graduates of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship and Mentoring Program include Patrick Mills(basketball), Lauren Mitchell(gymnastics), Jessicah Schipper(swimming), Dylan Alcott(wheelchair basketball), Caroline Buchanan(BMX), Michael Hepburn(cycling), Ashleigh Gentle(triathlon), Annabelle Smith(diving) and Dani Samuels(athletics).

Scholarship holders have been privileged to be mentored by such Australian sporting greats as; Catherine Freeman OAM,Susie O’Neill AM,Adam Gilchrist AM,Robert de Castella AO MBE and Sport Australia Hall of Fame Chair John Bertrand AO.

Established in 1985, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame plays a vital role in preserving and perpetuating Australia’s rich sporting heritage, whilst promoting the values of courage, sportsmanship, integrity, mateship, persistence, and excellence, all underpinned by generosity, modesty, pride and ambition.

The 35thSport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner

What: Australia’s most prestigious sporting awards ceremony
Date: Thursday, 10th October 2019
Time: From 5:45pm (Media, VIP and Members) and 6:30pm (Guests)
Where: Palladium at Crown, Melbourne
Who: The largest collective gathering of Australian sporting greats and luminaries
Awards: The induction of seven new Australian sporting greats into The Sport Australia Hall of Fame


Elevation of one member as the 41st Legend of Australian Sport


Naming of ‘The Don’ Award winner


Presentation to the 2020 recipients of the Scholarship and Mentoring Program

Nomination: The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is determined to carry to Australians everywhere the symbol of excellence as represented by its 565 Members across all sports and genders. Membership of The Sport Australia Hall of Fame is the crowning achievement of a sporting career and represents the highest level of peer recognition for an individual’s contribution to his or her sport. For more information about criteria and how to nominate click here.


Australia Finishes Success World Champs With More Tickets To Tokyo

Australian brothers-in-arms Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons added their names to the men’s and women’s K4 qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 with a thrilling performance in the final of the K2 1000 at the ICF canoe sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary.

Wood and Fitzsimmons pushed the best pairs in the world all the way to the finish, securing fifth position and qualification for another two athletes for next year’s Olympic Games.

It ended a successful week for the Australian team, with Australia’s four paracanoeists also locking away slots for next year’s Paralympic Games.


Paralympic Champion Curtis McGrath (QLD) celebrated the one year to go to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games mark this weekend with two gold medals and added world championship titles nine and ten to his unbeaten record, while Paralympic bronze medallist Susan Seipel (QLD) took home a silver and bronze medal. See full story HERE.

In the Olympic events, Rio Olympians Riley Fitzsimmons (NSWIS) and Jordan Wood (QLD) were left emotionally and physically drained on Saturday after qualifying for the K2 final, but showed their strength and character with a gutsy 1000 that saw them threatening for the podium.

“Coming into that last 250 we knew we were in a strong position, and we really just gave it our all in that last 200 metres,” Wood said.

“We executed a race that we are genuinely proud of, and I think it’s a great building block into next year.

“The semi-final for us was such a big race, and everything comes down to being in that final. We knew we were capable of it and we just didn’t want to let ourselves down.”

Wood said the performance of the women’s K4, which made the A final the previous evening, had given the whole team a lift.

“I just want to see the whole team do well and race to the best of our capabilities, and the girls race last night was nothing short of amazing,” he said.

“The whole team was there for each other, and we just wanted to see everyone succeed.”

Rio OlympianAlyce Burnett said even though there was a suggestion the Australian women’s K4 could still miss out, despite making the final, the quartet knew they were safe.

“The selection policy is very confusing, but we knew everyone in the top ten was safe,” Burnett said.

“But to make us extra safe, we wanted to be top eight. We got seventh, and we were happy with our race, but we would have preferred to be much higher.

“We got seventh last year as well, but we’ve got a lot to build on, the field is a lot closer than last year, we were only point two off fifth, so we’re very excited. This is not just for us but for Australia. And to know that we have a few girls going to the Olympics now is pretty cool.”

Fellow Rio OlympianAlyssa Bull said now the Olympic quota was locked away, each athlete had to step up to make the Tokyo 2020 team.

“At the end of the day we still have to earn our own places on the team, but I’m excited for everyone to be pushing the next domestic season,” Bull said.

“We have a lot of work to do. We’ll have sixth months now to get ourselves qualified for the team but it’s an exciting prospect to work towards,” Jo Brigden-Jones(NSW) agreed.

The men’s K4 of Rio bronze medallist Lachlan Tame (NSWIS), Tom Green (QLD), Jackson Collins  (QLD) and Matt Goble (SA) bounced back from the disappointment of missing the final by winning the B final, safe in the knowledge they had also locked up an Olympic quota the previous evening.


“We wanted to make a statement to ourselves,” Tame said.

“We didn’t execute perfectly, we were in the fight yesterday, and that’s where we had to improve on from our world cups. We’d made up a good bit of ground on the rest of the world, but then just didn’t do the right things, it was a pretty bad feeling.

“But to come out this morning and do that, it’s nothing amazing, but we’re tenth in the world, and we’ve built something pretty cool in the last eight weeks. We’re a bunch of misfits really.”

In other results, Bernadette Wallace (SA) finished sixth in the C1 5000 final, and Alyssa Bull was seventh in the K1 5000. Cat McArthur(SA) finished second in the K1 500 C final.

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Australian A-Final Results
See all results here

K2 Men 1000m Final A

2 Francisco CUBELOS Inigo PENA ESP
3 Cyrille CARRE Etinne HUBRT FRA

K4 Women 500m Final A


KL2 Men 200m Final A (Saturday, 24 August 2019)

1 Curtis MCGRATH AUS 42.35
2 Federico MANCARELLA ITA 42.80+0.45
3 MARTLEW NZL 43.51+1.1

KL3 Men 200m Final A (Saturday, 24 August 2019)

1 Serhii YEMELIANOV UKR 40.03
2 Leonid KRYLOV RUS 40.56+0.53
4 Dylan LITTLEHALES AUS 40.79+0.75

KL2 Women 200m Final A (Friday, 23 August 2019)

1 Charlotte HENSHAW GBR 47.62
2 Emma WIGGS GBR 49.03+1.41
3 Susan SEIPEL AUS 51.12+3.49

KL3 Women 200m Final A(Friday, 23 August 2019)

1 Shakhnoz MIRZAEVA UZB 47.29
2 Laura SUGAR GBR 47.32+0.03
3 Shahla BEHROUZIRAD IRI 48.96+1.67
7 Amanda REYNOLD – 6th country AUS 50.46+3.17

 VL2 Women 200m Final A (Thursday, 22 August 2019)

1 Emma WIGGS GBR 56.10
2 Susan SEIPEL AUS 57.74+1.64
3 Mariia NIKIFOROVA RUS 59.24+3.14

VL3 Men 200m Final A (Thursday, 22 August 2019)

1  Curtis MCGRATH AUS 47.42 
3  Stuart WOOD GBR 48.42+1.00

Curtis McGrath Makes It Ten World Championship Titles

Tears flowed freely as Australia picked up more gold medals, earned prized Paralympic and Olympic quotas and put in the races of their lives on the penultimate day of competition at the ICF canoe sprint and paracanoe world championships in Szeged, Hungary.

Curtis McGrath (QLD) defended his second world title of the World Championships, and earned Australia another place at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics by winning the KL2 title, the men’s K4 qualified for Tokyo despite missing out on the A-final, while the women’s K4 made the A-final and got a major step closer to realising their Tokyo dream as well. Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood put in another strong performance in the men’s K2 and will race for K2 1000 gold on Sunday.

McGrath Photo Steve McArthur

McGrath Photo Steve McArthur

Paralympic Champion Curtis McGrath had to fight hard for his gold, taking the lead in the final 20 metres of the race.

“This is probably the most nervous I have ever been, I think because the field is getting closer and the competition is heating up,” McGrath said.

“I need to work on my mental side of things, focusing on and zeroing in on what I can do. A win is a win, but there are always things to improve on.

“Our focus this week has been to get all four quotas for Tokyo, and we have done that, so it has been a great event.”

KL2 Medals - Photo Steve McArthur

KL2 Medals – Photo Steve McArthur

Saturday’s win in the KL2 200 followed McGrath’s win in the VL3 200 on Thursday and world champion title number nine and ten made for a special celebration on the seven-year survivor anniversary weekend for the 31-year old, who survived an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2012.

“This was a pretty good way to celebrate surviving an IED blast seven years ago. I actually forgot about it at first, I was having too much fun. But on the 23 of August 2012, I would have never thought being a world champion was ever possible,” McGrath said.

“I’m so grateful I get to share the journey with amazing people like the men on the podium with me. It has all been possible with the support and guidance of my friends and family.”

Dylan Littlehales (NSW) wrapped up a strong performance of the Australian paracanoe team, locking away Australia’s fourth quota when he finished fourth in the men’s KL3 200.

He was once again denied a podium by just a fraction of a second, this time finishing 0.09 of a second behind Brazil’s Caio de Carvalho.

Littlehales - Photo Steve McArthur

Littlehales – Photo Steve McArthur

“I’m happy with my performance. It wasn’t the result I was aiming for but you can’t control what everyone else does and I went out, had a great race, did a good time and just missed the podium but that’s a part of sport. Most importantly, I got the Paralympic quota spot to end a successful year,” Littlehales said.

“I believe myself and the rest of the paracanoe team on track for a successful Tokyo Paralympic campaign with twelve months to go and hope we can keep that going.”

Winning four quota spots will enable the current four Australian paracanoe athletes of double world champion Curtis McGrath, Dylan Littlehales, world championships silver and bronze medallist Susan Seipel as well as Amanda Reynolds to compete in six Paralympic events come Tokyo 2020.

With two gold, one silver and one bronze, the Australian paracanoe team finished third on the medal table behind Great Britain and Ukraine.

MK4 - Photo Steve McArthur

MK4 – Photo Steve McArthur

In the Olympic events, Australia’s men’s K4 of Rio bronze medallist Lachlan Tame (NSW), Tom Green (QLD), Jackson Collins (QLD) and Matt Goble (SA) was also able to lock away a place in Tokyo, thanks to the four-continents rule and despite finishing sixth in their semi and missing the A-final.

In the Australian women’s K4 the stakes were high as well and the tears flowed freely on Saturday afternoon when Alyssa Bull (QLD), Jaime Roberts (WA), Alyce Burnett (QLD) and Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW), qualified for Sunday’s final with a third place in the semi-final and took a major step forward to qualify the K4 for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“I’ve never experienced nerves like that, ever,” Bull said.

“We talked a lot about ignoring that pressure that is on to qualify Australia for the K4, but sometimes you just can’t get it out of your head.”

Brigden-Jones suffered the heartbreak of narrowly missing the 2016 Olympics after competing in London in 2012, and then had to take time out from her career to focus on qualifying the K4.

WK4 - Photo Steve McArthur

WK4 – Photo Steve McArthur

“I seriously could have walked away from the sport after missing out on Rio, and I seriously considered it many times,” Brigden-Jones said.

“These girls are the only reason that I’m in the sport today, because I want to be part of this, and it’s something so special and so amazing.

Roberts is the only member of the quartet not to have experienced an Olympics, and is thrilled to be part of the four that is vying for the Tokyo 2020 spot.

“I’m within touching distance and it’s pretty special to be doing it with three Olympians as well, so that lifts me every day,” she said.
“We’ve done step one, but there’s more to do tomorrow.”

The tears also flowed freely for Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons after they put in the race of their lives to qualify for the K2 1000 final. A top five finish on Sunday will wrap up an Olympic quota.

“We made ourselves known to the rest of the world that we’re here to race, we’re here to challenge for medals,” Fitzsimmons said.

“I wouldn’t want anyone else in the back of my boat. We’ve had so many great memories and great moments together in the boat, and we’ve done it all together. So you get quite emotional when you do things like this.”

Wood said to earn the K2 Olympic quota would be a dream come true.

“It would be amazing, and to do it with one of my good mates, that would make it even more special,” Wood said.

“We’ve had a lot of good times, and a lot of tough times as well. Coming into next year if we earn that quota spot tomorrow, just to do it together will be the most important thing.”

MK2 - Photo Steve McArthur

MK2 – Photo Steve McArthur

In other result on Saturday, senior world championships newcomer Jean van der Westhuyzen (QLD) won his K1 1000 B final, Alyce Burnett finished fifth in the B final of the women’s K1 200, and Cat McArthur (SA) finished eighth in her semi of the K1 500 to qualify for Sunday’s C final.

The 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships will wrap up on Sunday with the Olympic events of the men’s K2 1000 as well as the women’s K4 500 final the highlights of the day.

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AUS Race Times (CET | +8hrs AEST)
10:20 WK1 500 Final C: Cat McArthur
10:38 MK4 500 Final B: Lachlan Tame, Tom Green, Jackson Collins, Matt Goble
12:00 MK2 1000 Final A: Jordan Wood, Riley Fitzsimmons
13:11 WK4 500 Final 1: Alyssa Bull, Jaime Roberts, Alyce Burnett, Jo Brigden-Jones
14:30 WC1 5000 Final: Bernadette Wallace
15:50 WK1 5000 Final: Alyssa Bull
16:25 MK1 5000 Final: Joel McKitterick

Australian A-Final Results
KL2 Men 200m Final A (Saturday, 24 August 2019)

1 Curtis MCGRATH AUS 42.35
2 Federico MANCARELLA ITA 42.80+0.45
3 MARTLEW NZL 43.51+1.1

KL3 Men 200m Final A (Saturday, 24 August 2019)

1 Serhii YEMELIANOV UKR 40.03
2 Leonid KRYLOV RUS 40.56+0.53
4 Dylan LITTLEHALES AUS 40.79+0.75

KL2 Women 200m Final A (Friday, 23 August 2019)

1 Charlotte HENSHAW GBR 47.62
2 Emma WIGGS GBR 49.03+1.41
3 Susan SEIPEL AUS 51.12+3.49

KL3 Women 200m Final A(Friday, 23 August 2019)

1 Shakhnoz MIRZAEVA UZB 47.29
2 Laura SUGAR GBR 47.32+0.03
3 Shahla BEHROUZIRAD IRI 48.96+1.67
7 Amanda REYNOLD – 6th country AUS 50.46+3.17

 VL2 Women 200m Final A (Thursday, 22 August 2019)

1 Emma WIGGS GBR 56.10
2 Susan SEIPEL AUS 57.74+1.64
3 Mariia NIKIFOROVA RUS 59.24+3.14

VL3 Men 200m Final A (Thursday, 22 August 2019)

1  Curtis MCGRATH AUS 47.42 
3  Stuart WOOD GBR 48.42+1.00

McGrath and Seiple Win Gold and Silver and Tokyo 2020 Quotas

Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath did it the hard way but successfully defended his VL3 world title and Susan Seipel picked up a silver medal on a big day for the Australian team at the ICF canoe sprint and paracanoe world championships in Szeged on Thursday.

McGrath held on by a fingernail to successfully defend his world title, edging out Brazil’s Caio Carvalho by just 0.10 of a second to repeat the gold and silver result from last year.

It’s McGrath’s ninth world title in a glittering career that’s only been going for five years. He also earned Australia a quota for next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where the VL3 will make its debut.

“That’s the closest I’ve ever had, so it’s nice to be pushed all the way,” McGrath said.

“Caio’s always been there. Some days he gets a really good start, and some days he just doesn’t have the right go, but today was one of those days and he pushed me all the way.”

Seipel said she was feeling the fittest she has been for a long time, and made good that form with a close silver behind Great Britain’s Emma Wiggs in the VL2 final.

She also earned a Paralympic quota for Australia in an event which will also make its Games debut next year.

“There’s always little things that I think of now that I need to improve on, but overall I’m pretty happy with that,” Seipel said.

“Last year I came fourth, so to come second is a huge achievement. It’s going to be a real honour to hopefully get to race this boat in a Paralympics at the debut of that boat.

“I’ve been paddling Va’a since the beginning, but it lost a bit of ground because it wasn’t in Rio, but now its coming back again its going to have a great debut in Tokyo.”

Amanda Reynolds completed the successful day for the Australian Paralympic team, qualifying for the final of the women’s KL3.

Reynolds has been hampered with a wrist injury in recent months, but put in a strong race finishing second in the semi-final.

“I was a bit nervous last night about it all, after I stopped and looked at all the times from yesterday,” Reynolds said.

“So I’ve just got to get faster and I’m happy with the race, happy to put another one in the bag and ready to move on.”


There were also good signs for the Australian canoe sprint team, with Tom Green continuing his awesome year by winning his semi-final of the K1 500, and the Australian men’s and women’s K4 500 teams both progressing to the semi-finals.

Green said he’s enjoying being back in the shorter race.

“The 500 I still love, it’s a very good event, if only it was still in the Olympics,” Green said.

“Here it’s another race. Yes it helps me warm up for the K4, but it helps me get over that last 500 more and more, especially at this kind of level, there are things that you can’t learn anywhere else.”

Australia took the first important step towards qualifying its K4 boats for Tokyo with strong performances in their heats.

The men’s team of Lachlan Tame, Tom Green, Jackson Collins and Matt Goble finished second behind France.

“I’ve never been to a senior worlds, and to come here and see how big it is, how many people are running around, it’s a whole another level up,” Collins said.

“We went into that race knowing that we wanted to build from our heat to the semi, and from the semi to the final – we’ve laid a really good foundation. If we can build on that, we’ll be handful by the final.”

Lachlan Tame, Tom Green, Jackson Collins and Matt Goble, Australia Mens K4 500mtr
Racing the qualification races at the International Canoe Federation World Championships, Szeged, Hungary. Thursday 22 August 2019 © Copyright photo Steve McArthur / Paddle Australia

The women’s team of Alyssa Bull, Jaime RobertsAlyce Burnett and Jo Brigden-Jones finished third in their heat behind the Hungarian and German combinations.

“It was a good first race, we had a really good start, so now we’re really looking forward to the semi,” Bull said.

“We’ve been putting our heads down and working really hard in Italy. We had a really good training camp and we’re just looking forward to stringing some good races together here.”

Alyssa Bull, Jaime Roberts, Alyce Burnett and Jo Brigden-Jones Australia Womens K4 500mtr
Racing the qualification races at the International Canoe Federation World Championships, Szeged, Hungary. Thursday 22 August 2019 © Copyright photo Steve McArthur / Paddle Australia

In other results, Josephine Bulmer and Bernadette Wallace showed big improvement in the C2 500, but did not progress past the heats, whileCat Mcarthur and Brianna Massiealso fell short in the K2 500.

Racing continues on Friday, 23 August with A finals in the women’s KL2 (Susan Seipel), women’s KL3 (Amanda Reynolds) as well as in the women’s K2 200 (Jaime Roberts and Jo Brigden-Jones) and the men’s K1 500 (Tom Green).

A-final times, Friday, 23 August 2019
KL2 W 200 – Susan Seipel: 11:10 CET (19:10 AEST)
KL3 W 200 – Amanda Reynolds: 11:15 CET
K2 W 500 – Jaime Roberts + Jo Brigden-Jones: 15:03 CET
K1 M 500 – Tom Green: 15:31 CET

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VL3 M 200 Results

  1. AUS      Curtis McGrath                    47.42
  2. BRA      Caio Ribeiro De Carvalho   47.52 +0.10
  3. GBR      Stuart Wood                       48.42    +1.00

VL2 W 200 Results

  1. GBR      Emma Wiggs                      56.10
  2. AUS      Susan Seipel                       57.74    +1.64
  3. RUS      Mariia Nikiforova                 59.24    +3.14

Paracanoe Quartet Show They Mean Business At World Championships

Australia’s four-strong paracanoe team have completed a successful opening day of the ICF world championships in Szeged, Hungary, with the quartet all qualifying for their next round of competition.

There were also strong performances from the able-bodied team in several of the non-Olympic events, with more exciting racing to come at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic qualification event.

Curtis McGrath began his defence of his KL2 and VL3 world titles in the best possible way, qualifying for the finals in both. The Paralympic gold medallist was happy with his performance in the KL2, but had problems in the VL3.

McGrath VL3 - Photo Bence Vekassy

“It’s never easy, but it doesn’t help when you don’t do your start right, and I missed one of my changes so I lost the grip on the top, which made it more difficult than it needed to be,” McGrath said.

“I didn’t have a good race. It’s something to work on for sure.

“I was really happy with my races this morning, but looking at the rest of the field, there’s some really strong people there.”

Susan Seipel is also through to two finals, winning her VL2 heat in the morning and finishing second in her KL2 heat in the afternoon.

The 2016 Paralympic bronze medallist said she is looking forward to showing what she’s got after struggling with illness at recent international events.

“I feel the fittest and the strongest that I have ever been, really, so I’m looking forward to the finals and seeing what I can do,” Seipel said.

“You’re not always on top, you just can’t be when you’ve been doing it for years and years. There’s always the highs and lows, you just have to try and accept that and try to be the best you can with what you have.”

Seipel - Photo Bence Vekassy

Paralympic silver medallist Amanda Reynolds is also ready to show her best after a long-term battle with a wrist injury. Reynolds qualified for the semi-final of the women’s KL3 after finishing second in her heat.

“It was a bit messy, but it’s good. I’m just happy to be back on the water,” Reynolds said.

“We’ve managed to adapt things and move it all around, so it’s going really well. It’s just building blocks. Every race is more experience and more knowledge for me in knowing what we can do.

“The main focus this week though is getting the boat qualified for the Paralympics.”

Dylan Littlehales has set his sights on a podium result in the men’s KL3, and got his campaign off to a strong start finishing second in his heat and then second in his semi-final to qualify for the final.

In other results, Jo Brigden-Jones and Jaime Roberts won their way into the final of the K2 200 with an impressive semi-final victory.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work in the K4, so the K2 has definitely taken a bit of a back seat and we haven’t done that many training sessions in it,” Brigden-Jones said.

“It’s really cool to get out there, blow the cobwebs out and get some confidence and building into the K4 tomorrow afternoon,” Roberts said.

Tom Green cruised into the semi-finals of the men’s K1 500 with a comfortable heat win, following on from his gold medal triumph at the U23 world championships in Romania earlier this month.

Alyce Burnett also progressed through to the semi-final in the women’s K1 200.

Racing continues on Thursday, 22 August with the men’s and women’s K4 500 taking to the water and with the first two A finals in the women’s VL2 (Susan Seipel) and men’s VL3 (Curtis McGrath) on the program.

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