Olympics: Carrington happy to be poster girl

By Dylan Cleaver

Lisa Carrington. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Lisa Carrington. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Nobody did more for their sport at these Games than Lisa Carrington.

The 23-year-old rocketed into the spotlight with a blistering win in the K1 200m on Saturday night. It was the first kayaking medal since Ben Fouhy's silver eight years ago and the first gold since Paul MacDonald and Ian Ferguson in Seoul.

It should also guarantee a healthy slice of the sports funding pie when Sport NZ recalibrates its expectations for Rio de Janeiro in four years. The marketable Carrington could also be the face that attracts a legion of young females to the sport.

It's a role she is more than happy to play.

"We don't have the depth in New Zealand so hopefully I can pave the way for a few young girls," Carrington said. "I'll be around for a little bit longer so I can take some under my wing and hopefully we can do great things on the world stage."

The sport's bosses, including chief executive Paula Kearns, should slip into lobbying mode about now. Sport NZ will make decisions on which sports it will "target" with investment over the next four years and which ones will have to fight for a chunk of the contestable pot.

Of the six targeted Olympic sports, triathlon looks vulnerable and there should be a stewards' inquiry if swimming retains its favoured status.

"Obviously for people above me [at Canoe Racing New Zealand], this is important," said coach Gordon Walker, "but I prefer to look at the performance and what it means to her as an individual. But you know what it's like in New Zealand, the Olympic sports ... are minority sports and very much at the mercy of your results at an Olympic level, so obviously it bodes well."

Walker thinks her win will inspire more kids, particularly those in surf lifesaving, to take up the sport, but most importantly, he thinks it will inspire Carrington to become even better than she already is.

"She's the one who did all the hard work, who got up early in the mornings and sacrificed, not just the past couple of years, but since she was 13 or 14."

- NZ Herald

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