Lynley Bilby

Lynley Bilby is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Kayak sets pace for cat

Gold medallist hopes her winning ways will rub off on Team New Zealand.

Teneale Hatton (centre) won a world title in the under-23 K1 marathon in Denmark. Photo / Balint Vekassy
Teneale Hatton (centre) won a world title in the under-23 K1 marathon in Denmark. Photo / Balint Vekassy

New Zealand has a new golden girl on the water - and she's right behind Team New Zealand to bring home the America's Cup.

Kayaker Teneale Hatton yesterday became the under-23 K1 marathon world champion in Denmark after a thrilling race to the finish line.

It's her second world title in a month after winning gold in the K1 5000 at the canoe sprint world championships in Germany.

She was due to compete again late last night in the open 25.8km open race where she was also expected to take the podium.

Mum Patricia Hatton said she had been emailing her European-based daughter race updates as Team New Zealand sailed for success off San Francisco.

Said Hatton: "She's a huge supporter. She loves the sea. She'll be supporting them as much as any Kiwi around the world."

The last message to her daughter said we had one to go "and I'm sure we'll get it".

Hatton said it was nerve-racking watching from her North Shore lounge as her daughter raced half a world away.

"It was very tense last night. I was screaming 'go now, go now' and the next second she just kind of changed up a gear and went. That last sprint over the final 500m was phenomenal."

She sent a text to her daughter at the end of the race saying: "good one, hugs and kisses".

It was replied with a brief "thanks".

She said her daughter was very driven and focused.

Hatton will return to New Zealand on Wednesday and have a break from competition for five weeks to sit her final exams to complete a bachelor of commerce at Auckland University. She also studies paramedicine at Auckland University of Technology.

Hatton's rise in the kayaking world has one of our Olympic greats predicting a phenomenal future for the 23-year-old North Shore paddler.

Ian Ferguson said Hatton and fellow kayaker Lisa Carrington were primed to become an international double act to dominate the sport for years to come.

Ferguson, who coached Hatton until earlier this year, said the win was phenomenal: "She's going fantastically this year ... and she's going to get better and better."

- Herald on Sunday

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