Ready Set Tokyo: Paddlers Kick Off Tokyo 2020 Season on Home Waters

With just under 200 days until Tokyo 2020, Australia’s best Olympic and Paralympic class paddlers will kick off the Olympic and Paralympic Games season on home waters with several state and national championships and national selection trials on the calendar over the next couple of months.

CANOE SLALOM
Australia’s canoe slalom paddlers will be up first and will be vying for national titles at the 2020 Paddle Australia Senior Canoe Slalom Championships at Penrith Whitewater Stadium this weekend (10-12 January 2020). The nationals will be a welcome racing opportunity ahead of canoe slalom team selections and Oceania Olympic qualifiers in February.

The Australian Paddling team already secured the maximum quota spots per country for the Tokyo 2020 men’s K1 and women’s C1 and K1 events at the 2019 World Championships, but will still be looking to earn a quota in the men’s C1 event.  National selection trials will then confirm who will be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for selection.

Paddle Australia’s dual Olympic medallist and most successful canoe slalom paddler of all time, Jessica Fox, is the only athlete already selected on to the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic team. This will give Fox the opportunity to focus on her preparation for Tokyo 2020 where she will have the chance to go for double gold in the women’s K1 and C1.

Fox will be contesting the nationals as well as the Australian Open on home waters before heading overseas for more training in Tokyo and the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup season.

Internal team competition across the other classes is set to heat up over the next couple of weeks with the Australian canoe slalom representatives in the men’s K1 and C1 yet to be confirmed and with only one country spot available per event.

Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour secured Australia the men’s K1 quota spot at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in September last year, but names on seats will only be decided following the national selection trials in February.

Lucien Delfour - Photo Bence Vekassy

Lucien Delfour – Photo Bence Vekassy

In the men’s C1 event, more is still at stake with the 2020 Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships in Auckland, New Zealand (1-3 February 2020) the last chance to secure Australia the quota spot and with the event also counting towards national selection for both the K1 and C1.

The 2020 canoe slalom teams, including the U23 and Junior teams, will be finalised at the Australian Open, which is part of the 2020 Sydney International Whitewater Festival (SIWWF) at the end of February (21-23 February 2020), with teams expected to be announced at the end of February.

The national championships this weekend will be the first opportunity for World Champion team paddler Daniel Watkins (TAS) as well as Rio Olympian Ian Borrows (NSW) to set an early mark and to impress selectors in the men’s C1 with only a few weeks left to prepare for the Oceania qualifier. Both are expected to be put under pressure by up and coming youngster Steven Lowther as well as fellow Western Australian Brodie Crawford, who are also pushing for the top.

Watkins - Photo Bence Vekassy

Dan Watkins – Photo Bence Vekassy
 
Daniel Watkins will double in both the men’s K1 and C1 for a chance to make his first Olympics in one of the events, while fellow national team paddler Tim Anderson will also aim to put pressure on both Delfour and Watkins as he prepares for national selection trials.

While not relevant for senior team selection the Canoe Slalom Senior Championships together with the Sydney International Whitewater Festival are a relevant selection event for Junior team selection.

The Senior Canoe Slalom Championships start at Penrith Whitewater Stadium on Thursday with the Extreme Slalom Events with the individual events starting on Friday, 10 January with the heats, while semis and finals are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday (11-12 January). Team events will be contested on Sunday.

For more info see here: https://slalom.paddle.org.au

CANOE SPRINT & PARACANOE
In the canoe sprint disciplines, Paddle Queensland State Championships will be up first this weekend (11 January 2020), followed by the Paddle New South Wales State Championships next weekend (18-19 January 2020). Both events will be welcome racing opportunities ahead of the national selection relevant events in February.

In canoe sprint and paracanoe, Australia has already secured six Olympic quota spots in the men and four quota spots in the women events as well as four Paralympic quota spots.

WK4 - Photo Steve McArthur

WK4 with Alyssa Bull, Jaime Roberts, Alyce Burnett, Jo Brigden-Jones – Photo Steve McArthur

Athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for these teams during the upcoming national selection trials, which will include the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2 (GP2) in February (14-16 February 2020) as well as the 2020 Paddle Australian Canoe Sprint Championships (11-15 March 2020) with both events scheduled to take place at Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) in Penrith.

While all the Olympic men kayaking quota spots are already secured, the women’s team will have the chance to secure up to two additional quota spots at GP2, which also doubles up as the 2020 Oceania Canoe Association’s Canoe Sprint Continental Championships and Olympic Qualification event. Also up for grabs at this event will be a quota spot in the women’s canoeing events, the class that will premiere on the Olympic program in Tokyo 2020.

WC2 with Bernadette Wallace & Josephine Bulmer - Photo Bence Vekassy

WC2 with Bernadette Wallace & Josephine Bulmer – Photo Bence Vekassy 

Both the Olympic and Paralympic canoe sprint teams are expected to be finalised at the end of March 2020.

SAVE THE DATES
See a full list of Olympic & Paralympic canoeing events below

NATIONAL EVENTS – AUSTRALIA

INTERNATIONAL EVENTS – TOKYO 2020 COUNT DOWN

  • 1-3 February 2020, 2020 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships, Auckland NZL (Quota spot relevant)
  • 8-10 May 2020, ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 1, Racice, CZE
  • 21-24 May 2020, ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 2 Duisburg, GER
  • 21-24 May 2020, ICF Paracanoe World Championships, Duisburg, GER
  • 5-7 June 2020, ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 1, Ivrea, ITA
  • 12-14 June 2020, ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 2, Pau, FRA
  • 3-8 August 2020, Olympic Canoe Sprint Regatta, Tokyo, JPN
  • 3-5 September 2020, Paralympic Games Regatta, Tokyo, JPN

STATEMENT: AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES AND AIR QUALITY

As certain areas of Australia are experiencing unprecedented levels of bushfire activity, Paddle Australia is monitoring the situation carefully in the lead up to numerous domestic competitions.

Paddle Australia is specifically monitoring the air quality in areas where upcoming competitions will be held. The health and wellbeing of all of our members (athletes, staff, officials and volunteers) is paramount.

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) recently released a position statement concerning air quality and exercise.

https://ais.gov.au/position_statements#smoke_pollution_and_exercise

As suggested in the AIS statement, Paddle Australia will be using Air Quality Index (AQI) as a guide in determining whether upcoming competitions should proceed, be modified, or, in extreme circumstances, be cancelled due to potential health risks to those involved. These decisions will be made in conjunction with local competition organisers, recognising that paddling competitions are diverse in nature and that local conditions and circumstances will vary.

Particular caution is required for those individuals who are already susceptible to upper airway irritants (e.g. asthmatics). Similarly, consideration will need to be given to the potential impact of conditions on technical officials and volunteers, who may be engaged in assisting with competitions over lengthy periods of time.

Paddle Australia staff will also be monitoring air quality in determining whether to amend High Performance training programs in the coming weeks.

On behalf of Paddle Australia, we hope that there will be some respite from these bushfires in the very near future and our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by these devastating fires. We would also like to thank the tireless work of all those who are fighting these bushfires.

If you would like to donate to the relief effort, please do so via the Australian Red Cross here

Paddle Australia’s statement: Australian bushfires and air quality

Paddlers Spread Christmas Cheer

Christmas came a week early for many of the Gold Coast University Children’s Hospital patients when Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) athletes, including five of Paddle Australia’s canoe sprint paddlers, paid them a visit on Tuesday to share some gifts, laughs and keep them company.

The QAS initiative in collaboration with the Gold Coast Hospital Foundation was a happy and in parts emotional affair with everyone agreeing that it was a very special day and welcome opportunity to give back to the community.

“It was so exciting to be involved with the children’s hospital visit. Some of these kids have faced so much adversity in life and if we could create some sort of happiness and Christmas cheer, it’s only a small act of kindness from our part, but contributes to a large positive impact for the kids. We’re looking forward to working more with the Gold Coast hospital foundation in 2020 and wish everyone a merry Christmas,” Rio Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons said.

“Going out to the hospital was a fantastic initiative organised by the AIS and QAS, but more importantly it was a great opportunity to interact and spend some time with kids who have it a bit harder than we do,” 2019 national team paddler Jean van der Westhuyzen agreed.

The team distributed presents that were collected from athletes, coaches and performance staff at the National Centre of Excellence – Canoe Sprint at the Gold Coast and while not everybody was able to go to the hospital everyone pitched in.

Rio Olympian Alyssa Bull took on the role of ‘head of present management’ and trusted her her ‘team elves’ to deliver them while she was at night shift in her job as firefighter.

“Unfortunately, due to night shift I was unable to attend the visit itself so I was more than happy to try muster up some gifts for the crew to take. Our aim was to collect gifts aimed at 3-15 year olds for both boys and girls. All staff and athletes from Canoe Sprint that train and work at Pizzey park were all more than happy to be involved and help spread the Christmas cheer. Emails were sent out and a ‘Santa’s Gift Box’ was created,” Bull explained the call-up which was a huge success.

“By the end of the first day we had an amazing number of gifts in the box. After hearing a few stories from the athletes that went to the hospital, it is so cool how a small gesture can put such big smiles on little faces. It’s great that we are able to go out to the community and spread some holiday cheer.”

Paddle Australia canoe sprint paddlers at the hospital included Paralympic champion and ten-time world champion Curtis McGrath, Olympic bronze medallist Lachlan Tame, Olympian Riley Fitzsimmons as well as national team paddlers Cat McArthur and Jean van der Westhuyzen.

https://instagram.com/stories/auspaddleteam/2200646553803053738?igshid=tbkh4lou8jw0

 

 

Olympic Dreams Start at Canoe Sprint GP1

Aspiring Olympians kick off Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualifying Season In Style at GP1 in Adelaide

Paddle Australia’s national canoe sprint series kicked off in style with top-level racing at the Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 in Adelaide over the weekend (6-8 December 2019).

Just eight months out from the start of the Tokyo 2020 canoe sprint events, Australia’s current and aspiring Olympians presented themselves in strong form at the season opener and ahead of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic selection season next year.

National selection trials will take place at Sydney International Regatta centre early next year, including the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint GP 2 (14-16 February 2020) as well as the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships (11-15 March 2020), with GP1 a welcome opportunity for everyone to get some first racing under their belt.

In the women’s events, Rio Olympian Alyce Wood (nee Burnett, Sunshine Coast, QLD) had a successful start to racing under her new married name ‘Wood’ and took home the win in the women’s K1 500, K1 200 events as well as in the K2 500 and 200 together with Rio partner Alyssa Bull (Sunshine Coast, QLD).  In the K1 500, Bull finished second with fellow South Australian 2019 national team paddler Cat McArthur (Holdfast Bay, SA) following in third.

In the K2 500 London Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones (Sydney Northern Beaches, NSW) successfully teamed up with Jaime Roberts (Indian Ocean, WA) to finish second ahead of youngsters Kailey Harlen (Sydney Northern Beaches, NSW) and Brianna Massie (Kawana Waters, QLD) in third.

In the women’s K1 200, 22-year old Western Australian Yale Steinepreis (Bayswater), pushed through this year’s senior national team paddlers to finish second behind Alyce Wood and ahead of Alyssa Bull with Cat McArthur following in fourth.

“We’ve all done some pretty hard training kilometres over the last couple of months and this was a great opportunity to get the first racing in, test out new things and blow out the cobwebs,” Cat McArthur said about the season opener. And while this was not a selection relevant event, the countdown to Tokyo 2020 was on everyone’s mind.

“You never know what you get this time of year, but Tokyo 2020 is definitely why we are all out here.  We are all training really hard and everyone is getting around each other and we are all driving each other to want more and to see how fast we can all get and it’s definitely a goal to get on to that team next year.”

The women’s kayaking team currently holds four Tokyo 2020 Olympic quota spots for Australia after Alyce Wood, Alyssa Bull, Jo Brigden-Jones and Jaime Roberts secured the four K4 quota spots at the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in August, but will have the opportunity to secure additional spots at the 2020 Canoe Sprint GP2 and Oceania Qualifier in February.

“At our Oceania Championships in February there are additional Oceania qualification spots we can try and qualify for the country.  It’s all for the country at this point and there are no names on seats yet.  But we can get up to two in the K2 500 event or we can potentially get one in the K1 500 event, so we are potentially looking at either one or two extra spots to get to a maximum of six women that we can get on the Tokyo team,” McArthur explained the process.

In addition to kayaking, Australia will also be aiming to secure a quota spot in the women’s canoeing events, the class that will premier at Tokyo 2020, with South Australian Sports Institute paddlers Bernadette Wallace (West Lakes, SA) and Josephine Bulmer (West Lakes, SA) leading the charge across the women’s C1 and C2 events at GP1.

While the 2019 Senior national team squad performed strongly over the weekend, Australia’s up and coming women’s canoe sprint talent also impressed with some solid performances for the start of the season and with exciting racing to be expected come selection and Oceania qualifying season next year.

“We’ve definitely got a pretty strong group coming up and we got young girls pushing us older ones, like you saw with Yale (Steinepreis) in the 200 final or in the K2 500.  We have four spots now and are hoping for a few more, but the bigger team we can get and the more competition we can drive the faster we are all going to get, so this is all positive,” McArthur said.

One of the young ones pushing up is Paddle Australia’s Junior Paddler of the Year Kailey Harlen who at only 18-years of age made all the open women’s finals at GP1.  Harlen finished sixth in the open women’s WK1 500 after winning her semi-final and added a third place in the women’s K2 500 and a fourth place in the K2 200 together with Brianna Massie to a successful season start.  She also finished seventh in the women’s K1 200 final after a second place in the semi.

“I actually didn’t expect it to go this well and I’m stoked with the results.  It’s nice to be back in the boat, just coming back to racing and seeing everyone’s faces and just feeling fit again, so I’m happy,” Harlen said after making a successful comeback to racing following a wrist injury earlier in the year that saw her miss the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint Junior World Championships.

But it is full steam ahead for Harlen now, who only started paddling in 2018 and has set her eyes on the Olympic Games – if not next year, then 2024.

“2024 was always the dream, but at the moment it’s getting a little bit real and I hope for the next one (Games) coming up.  But it’s going to be extremely tough with these girls all going for it, so all I want to do is try my very best and see where it takes me,’ Harlen said about her Olympic ambitions.

“The idea of maybe going to Tokyo is unreal.  How could that have even happened.  It does make me a little bit more nervous and adds a lot of extra pressure that I probably wouldn’t have put on myself but it’s exciting as well.  And whatever happens happens, so I’m just gonna go for it.”

Avoca’s Ella Beere (NSW) will also be amongst the ones to watch after finishing seventh in the women’s K1 500 and fifth in the women’s K2 500 together with Yale Steinepreis.  The U23 pair also finished second in the women’s K2 200 behind Alyce Wood and Alyssa Bull.

Another one to watch will be Georgia Sinclair (Avoca, NSW) who had a successful start to Olympic sprint kayaking on the weekend.

The Avoca paddler, who finished fourth at this year’s ICF U23 Ocean racing world championships contested her first kayaking regatta and finished second in the women’s K1 1000 and sixth in women’s K2 500 together with Mackenzie Duffy (Kawana Waters, QLD).

“Yes, this was my first kayak sprint event.  I come from ocean racing and clubby skies and it’s been fun getting into the short stuff.  It’s over 20k shorter than what I’m used to but it was good fun,” Georgia Sinclair laughed.

Georgia Sinclair - Photo Jo KneeboneGeorgia Sinclair – Photo Jo Kneebone

“I’m a new recruit at Avoca this season and have been training between there and NSWIS. It’s really cool to train alongside all the top guys and seeing what they have achieved in the sport and realising that that could potentially be on the cards.  I think the Olympic Games are every kids’ dream in sport and I guess, this put a few ideas into my mind.  But I guess I will just paddle as best as I can and see what happens.”

MEN EVENTS 
While Australia’s kayak women are still aiming to secure additional Tokyo 2020 spots, the men have already qualified the maximum six quota spots in the men’s kayaking events, and come February, it will all come down to who will fill those spots with the past weekend the first racing opportunity for the squad vying for Tokyo 2020.

World Championships fifth placed Rio Olympians Jordan Wood (Gold Coast, QLD) and partner Riley Fitzsimmons (Avoca, NSW) continued where they left off last domestic season and took home the win in the men’s K2 1000 and K2 200.

The pair was pushed by U23 K4 world champions Tom Green (Currumbin Creek, QLD) and Jean van der Westhuyzen (Gold Coast, QLD), who finished second in both events, but still won with a comfortable margin.  20-year old Green, who also won the K1 1000 U23 world champion title this year, took home the win in the men’s K1 1000 ahead of Jean van der Westhuyzen and Jordan Wood.

West Lakes local Matt Goble (West Lakes, SA) took out the win in the men’s K1 200 with Jean van der Westhuyzen in second and 20-year old Ethan Neville (Salty Paddlers, NSW) in third.

Olympic champion and Rio bronze medallist Ken Wallace (Currumbin Creek, QLD) was back in action after not contesting the international season this year, paddling the K2 together with 2019 U23 K4 world champion and U23 K2 silver medallist Jackson Collins (QLD).

The pair finished third in the men’s K2 1000 and fourth in the K2 200 with both also contesting the K1 events.

“It’s almost been a refresher course to paddling again and even though I’ve done it for so many years it’s that consistent paddling throughout the entire day that’s important with for example five 1000 metres races on our first day.  It was a solid day but I really enjoyed it,” Wallace said after his first racing back on the circuit.

“It probably wasn’t the result that we really wanted and it didn’t reflect the training that I’ve been doing.  We’ve done well over the weekend but I don’t think we are quite there yet but it’s a starting point so we can go back and train from that,” the 36-year old said.

Collins who is 15-years younger than Wallace and who had an impressive senior team debut last year after only just over a year in the sport made the most of the opportunity to paddle with experienced Wallace.

“The first regatta of the year is always a bit of a shock to the system but I’ve enjoyed it and learnt a lot.  It’s the young learning from the old here.  Kenny has taught me a lot so far that’s helping with my paddling and how to be better in the back, so it’s been good,” Collins said.

Paddling with legends of the sport like Kenny Wallace is also what West Lakes locals and SASI 2019 Junior team members Jesse KneeboneEllis and Daniel Kucharski are aiming for, who contested their first senior events over the weekend and cherished the opportunity to paddle alongside their heroes.

“We tried to not get caught up in the competition around us and it was a good experience coming into our first senior regatta and be able to compare ourselves to the top guns,” Dan Kucharski said.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system, a big learning experience and we tried to not let the big names in the lanes next to us get to us, but we are really happy with how we’ve done.  Lining up for the K1, I was speaking to Kenny Wallace who was saying that his first ever world championships A final was over 20 years ago and neither of us were born then so it’s really been a big mix and lots of experience going around the races,” Jesse Kneebone-Ellis added.

JUNIOR EVENTS
Australia’s up and coming sprint talent made waves across all of the GP1 events and age groups building the excitement ahead of national team selection races next year.

Sunshine Coaster and 2019 Olympic Hopes team paddler Phoebe Wills-Grace (Kawana Waters, QLD) successfully teamed up with 2018 Youth Olympic paddler Jenaya Massie (Kawana Waters, QLD) to win the women’s 18 & under K2 1000 and 500 events.  The pair also won the women’s 18 K4 500 together with Chaise Richardson (Varsity, QLD) and Jasmine Locke (Illawarra).

Massie + Wills-Grace Photo Carolyn J CooperJenaya Massie + Phoebe Wills-Grace – Photo Jo Kneebone

In the men’s 18 & under events, 2018 Olympic Hopes team paddler Fletcher Armstrong (Avoca, NSW) made a successful come-back to canoe sprint racing following his recovery from should surgery at the end of last year and a successful stint into surf ski racing this year.

Armstrong took home the wins in the men’s K1 18 & under 1000, 500 and 200 metres events as well as in the men’s K2 18 & under 1000, 500 and 200 together with 2018 Olympic Hopes partner Jarrah Sheppard (Sydney Northern Beaches, NSW)

Armstrong made it a clean sweep winning also the men’s K4 500 together with Sydney Northern Beaches’ Matt DunbarToby Schooley and Jarrah Sheppard.

GP1 also saw the next generation of aspiring Junior team paddlers coming up with the under 16-years age showing some promising results, including Currumbin Creek’s 15-year old paddler Ava Lund (QLD) winning the women’s K1 16 & under events over the 500 and 1000 metres.  Lund also won the women’s K2 16 & under in the 1000, 500 and 200 metres events together with Western Australian Hana Vanek (Bayswater), who added a win in the women’s K1 16 1000 to her successful series at GP1.

In the men’s 16 & under events, Western Australian Tim Hyde (Canning River) took home the win in the men’s K1 1000, 500 and 200 metres event.  He also successfully teamed up with Daniel Hardwick (Currumbin Creek, Queensland) to win the 1000, 500 and 200 metres K2 events.  Hyde made it a complete series winning also the men’s K4 500 together with Morgan and Noah Boldy (Ascot) and Kylan Jegorow.

Paddle Australia’s canoe sprint series continues with the Grand Prix 2 and Oceania Qualifier in February (14-16 February 2020) ahead of the Canoe Sprint National Championships in March (15-21 March 2020) at Sydney International Regatta Centre.

See all results here: https://sprint.paddle.org.au/grand-prix-1/#live-results

2020 Canoe Sprint National & International Season 

  • 6-8 December 2019, Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1, West Lakes, Adelaide, SA
  • 18-19 January 2020, NSW State Championships, Sydney International Regatta Centre, NSW | VIC State Championships, Nagambie, VIC
  • 14-16 February 2020, Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2 & & Oceania Canoe Association’s Canoe Sprint Continental Championships, Sydney International Regatta Centre, NSW
  • 11-15 March 2020, Canoe Sprint National Championships, Sydney International Regatta Centre, NSW (Selection Trials)
  • 8-10 May 2020, ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 1, Racice, CZE
  • 21-24 May 2020, ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 2, Duisburg, GER
  • 3-8 August 2020, Olympic Canoe Sprint Regatta, Tokyo, JPN

Canoe Sprint Grand Prix Kicks Off Tokyo 2020 Selection Season & New Olympic Chapter for Alyce Wood

New season & new Olympic chapter for Alyce Wood (nee Burnett) and the Wood Family 

Paddle Australia’s best Olympic and Paralympic sprint paddlers and a strong contingent of Australia’s up and coming sprint talent will come together at Adelaide’s West Lakes this weekend at the Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 – the first hit-out of the national canoe sprint series (6 – 8 December 2019).

Seven months out from the Tokyo 2020 Games, the Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 marks the start to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic canoe sprint selection season and will be a welcome opportunity for Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic aspirants to get some racing under their belt before selections will get serious next year.

National selection trials will take place at Sydney International Regatta centre early next year, including the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint GP 2 (14-16 February 2020) as well as the Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Championships (11-15 March 2020).

Australia has already secured six Olympic quota spots in the men and four quota spots in the women events as well as four Paralympic quota spots at the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Hungary in August.  Athletes will have the opportunity to qualify for this team during the selection trials in February and March, with both the Olympic and Paralympic teams expected to be finalised at the end of March 2020.

The Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 will be the first opportunity to see Australia’s best compete on home waters this domestic season with the competitor list including most of those who are vying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic selection.

However, those looking for the name of Rio Olympian Alyce Burnett (QLD) might be surprised to find Alyce Wood instead in the women’s K2 together with Rio Olympian Alyssa Bull as well as in several of the K1 events.

The Sunshine Coaster and key performer on the women’s canoe sprint team over the last few years will kick off the Olympic selection season under her new name Alyce Wood (nee Burnett) after marrying long-time partner, fellow team member and Rio Olympian Jordan Wood at the end of October.

Alyce & Jordan Wood Wedding

“I sat on the fence for a while figuring out if I will actually change my name or not, but after much consideration I can’t imagine myself not changing it. Ultimately, I will always be a Burnett by blood but becoming a ‘Wood’ means a lot to both myself and Jordan and it’s perfectly timed to start a fresh season under a new name,” Alyce Wood said.

With her decision to embark on the Tokyo 2020 selection journey and towards her Olympic dream next year as Alyce Wood, the 27-year old aims to add another Olympic success story to the long list of Olympic accolades in the Wood family.

While Alyce and Jordan Wood both competed at their first Olympic Games at Rio 2016 and with both aiming for their second Games in Tokyo 2020, Jordan’s mum and Alyce’s coach Anna Wood, already has four Olympic Games as an athlete as well as one as an Olympic team coach under her belt.

Anna Wood, Alyce Wood, Alyssa Bull - Photo Steve McArthur

Anna Wood, Alyce Wood, Alyssa Bull – Photo Steve McArthur 

Dutch-born Anna Wood (nee Cox), who is coaching the women’s canoe sprint team, holds two Olympic bronze medals in the women’s K2 500, earning one in 1988 with the Netherlands and the next in 1996 competing for Australia.  In her career, Wood also won eight ICF Canoe Sprint world championships medals including three gold.

Her late husband Steven Wood, Jordan’s father, was also a two time Olympian and won bronze in the men’s K4 1000 at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The Wood family has such a strong history in kayaking and I really do feel a sense of pride to now be carrying the name.  With Jordan’s parents both being Olympic medallists, and both him and I both being Olympians, our future kids certainly will have a lot of riding on their shoulders,” Burnett laughed.

“In saying that, racing under the Wood name really doesn’t bring any additional pressure, rather it inspires me to represent the name as best I can and leave a lasting legacy much like both Jordan’s parents have.” 

So pending the domestic season and selection trials, Tokyo 2020 could be a Wood family affair and an extra special season ahead for the new Wood addition, Alyce.

“Being in Rio with Jordan by my side and Anna as my coach was super special, but I think if we were to all be in Tokyo next year it would be even more memorable. I can’t help but imagine showing our kids videos of us racing in the future, both with Wood plastered down the sides of the boat, and hopefully see how much pride in both our name and our country that fills them with.”

Jordan & Alyce in Rio - Photo Sportscene Rob van Bommel

Jordan & Alyce in Rio 2016 – Photo Sportscene Rob van Bommel

Husband Jordan Wood (QLD) will also be contesting the Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 with 25-year old Wood and 23-year old Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW) spearheading the group of young sprint paddlers who have continued to impress this Olympic cycle.

They will be joined by U23 sprint K1 world champion Tom Green (QLD) as well as U23 K4 world champions Jackson Collins (QLD) and Jean van der Westhuyzen (QLD), who made their senior national team debut this season.

While the youngsters are starting to push through, Beijing 2008 Olympic champion and Rio 2016 bronze medallist Kenny Wallace (QLD) is back at the start line after not contesting the 2019 international season.  Wallace will be teaming up in the K2 events with Jackson Collins, who had an impressive senior team debut this year after only just over a year in the sport.

London 2012 Olympian Jesse Phillips (WA), who raced most of last season in the canoe marathon events, will also line-up in both the K1 and K2 together with Western Australian partner Josh Kippin.

Alyce WoodAlyssa Bull (QLD), Jaime Roberts (WA) and Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) who secured the women’s K4 quota spots for Tokyo 2020 this year, as well as local South Australian 2019 national team paddler Cat McArthur (SA) will contest multiple events across the K2s and K1s with Australia’s U23 sprint talent having the chance to test their skills against and with the senior women in some of the events.

Brigden-Jones, Burnett (Wood), Roberts, Bull - WK4 - Photo Steve McArthur

Brigden-Jones, Burnett (Wood), Roberts, Bull – WK4 – Photo Steve McArthur 

While the kayaking quota spots are secured, local South Australian Sport Institute’s women’s canoe paddlers Josephine Bulmer and Bernadette Wallace will launch their 2020 campaign with the aim to secure Australia a spot in the women’s canoeing events. They will be up against a full field of up and coming women’s canoe paddlers with the class, which will premiere on the Olympic program in Tokyo 2020, continuing to grow.

Also getting in some racing in Adelaide will be Paddle Australia’s Rio 2016 Paralympians and world championships medallists and champions Curtis McGrath (QLD), Dylan Littlehales (NSW), Amanda Reynolds (VIC) and Susan Seipel (QLD) with new paracanoe talent joining the action at West Lakes.

Racing starts at the Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 1 on Friday, 6 December and concludes on Sunday, 9 September 2019.

See the race schedule here: https://regattas.paddle.org.au/?mobile;file=862

See a full list of entries here: https://regattas.paddle.org.au/regattas/1181/entries

Follow mobile results here: https://regattas.paddle.org.au/mobile/regatta/1181

A wrap of the event will be send out on Monday.

Upcoming selection relevant canoe sprint events:

  • Paddle Australia Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2, Sydney International Regatta Centre, 14-16 February 2020
  • Paddle Australian Canoe Sprint National Championships, Sydney International Regatta Centre, 11-15 March 2020