Kayaking: No complaints for Carrington after World Cup opener

By David Leggat

Lisa Carrington. Photo / AP
Lisa Carrington. Photo / AP

No complaints from Lisa Carrington after her Olympic campaign got under way with a win and a second placing at the opening World Cup canoeing regatta at Duisburg, Germany last night.

Add in a bronze for the K4 women's quartet of Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie in the 200m final and it was a highly successful weekend for New Zealand.

Carrington, the world champion in both the K1 200m sprint event and the K1 500m, followed her almost predictable gold in the shorter event, where she is undisputed world best, with a second placing in the longer distance.

But Carrington now has a benchmark to work with in the longer distance after being beaten by the returning Hungarian star Danuta Kozak.

In what boiled down to a race between three paddlers, Kozak prevailed in 1min 47.071 seconds, with Carrington clocking 1:48.196 with Azerbaijan's Inna Onishenko-Rodomska - Olympic champion in Beijing in 2008 -- taking third a further .172s back.

Carrington sat third early before making ground. However Kozak, a former world and Olympic champion announced she's back in the Olympic frame after taking a year off to focus on team events.

She beat Carrington in the 2012 and 2013 worlds and looms as the toughest challenger for the New Zealander's ambitions of winning two golds at the Rio Olympics in August.
Still, Carrington had no gripes and now has a clearer idea of the challenge ahead.

''I stuck to my race plan, and did what I needed to do, and what I could do," she said last night.

''I'm racing the best paddlers in the world and the quality is extremely high."

The next World Cup regatta for Carrington is in Portugal starting on June 3. She will skip the second cup event in Racice, Czech Republic next weekend and, along with sole men's Rio paddler Marty McDowell, will spend several days in Berlin training.

Carrington and coach Gordon Walker have time to work on their strategy.

''It's nice to race and get that one done and figure out what I can work on. I am really happy with the weekend and incredibly happy with my 200m.

''I've just got to consolidate for a bit, do some practice and hopefully in Portugal put in some of what we've learnt here into practice," she said.

The K4 women had two races in quick succession last night.

In their Olympic 500m event, they were fast out of the blocks in their final but could not stay with the tough pace and finished fifth.

Ukraine won in a slight surprise from world champions Belarus, with Poland and Britain taking third and fourth. New Zealand clocked 1:33.801, 1.032s off a podium place. Ukraine won in 1:32.046.

In the non-Olympic 200m event they clocked 35.401 to take third, behind Belarus (34.842) and Ukraine 35.115.

''We're really stoked with our races and how things are going," Ryan said. ''We know we've got time until Rio so we just wanted to see if we could give the start a really good crack, pushing it out to the 150m mark and trying to stay with Belarus, which we were able to do."

The women will race next weekend in Racice.

- NZ Herald

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