New Zealand paddlers are ticking all the right boxes so far at the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Szeged, Hungary.
On the opening day (Wednesday night NZT) para canoeist Scott Martlew advanced to the final of the men's KL2 200m and six-time World K1 200m champion Lisa Carrington cruised into the semifinals of her speciality event.
Competing in blisteringly hot temperatures, Martlew produced a composed paddle in the second semifinal to clinch a comprehensive win in 42.90s and ease into the final.
"The kayak today went really well. I won the heat and the semi today and I look forward to executing my whole race plan and give it everything in Saturday's final," Martlew said.
In the first semifinal the reigning Paralympic and world champion Curtis McGrath of Australia cruised to a comfortable win, recording a time of 42.05s.
Bay of Plenty's Carrington produced an assured and controlled performance to claim a comfortable heat three win in the women's K1 200m.
The 30-year-old quickly established her rhythm and crossed the line in 38.53s, 0.85s clear of Hungary's Dora Lucz in second. The performance ensured she advanced quickest into Saturday morning's (NZT) semifinals.
On day two (Thursday night NZT), Carrington joined teammates Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan in the women's K4 500m heats.
Lining up in the third and final heat, the Kiwi crew was dominant from the first few strokes, gradually building on their early advantage and claiming a comprehensive win in 1m 29s - finishing 2.62s clear of second place France with China third in 1m 32.14s.
In what is likely to prove a mouthwatering final on Sunday night, Belarus were the fastest crew to advance to the A Final, winning heat one in 1m 28.58s. Defending world champions Hungary – who pipped New Zealand to gold by just 0.01s in a rip-roaring battle at the 2018 World Championships – took out the second semifinal in 1m 29.06s.
The new Kiwi combination of Alicia Hoskin and Caitlin Ryan produced a fantastic display to advance to the A Final of the women's K2 500m.
Chasing one of three automatic qualification spots for the final in the semifinal, the pair made an aggressive start, holding a marginal advantage in the early stage and reaching the halfway checkpoint in third. Over the final 250m Hoskin and Ryan maintained their form and composure to bank that all important third spot in 1m 38.93s. The final will take place on Saturday night NZT.
There was also joy for Kiwi Quaid Thompson, who navigated a successful route into the semifinals of the men's K1 1000m.
On day three (Friday night NZT), Lisa Carrington returns to the water in the heats of the K1 500m and also takes her place in the semifinals of the K1 200m. Max Brown and Kurtis Imrie make their open World Championship debuts in the heats of the men's K2 1000m and Thompson competes in his semifinal of the men's K1 1000m.
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