By Barry Guy of RNZ
Canoe Racing New Zealand is fully supportive of Aimee Fisher's return to international competition following a stand-off last year that resulted in her withdrawing from Olympic Games consideration.
Fisher left the national training programme in 2020 and didn't compete in Tokyo.
However she won the K1 500 at the Nationals in May which made her eligible for this year's World Championships, with the Olympic athletes not being considered.
Fisher is now training in Portugal preparing for the Champs, while two other paddlers, Taris Harker and Quaid Thompson will also compete in Copenhagen next month.
In a normal year the Olympics and World Championships wouldn't be in the same year.
Canoe Racing CEO Tom Ashley says their selection policy for the K1 events is purely objective and after winning the trial at the national champs Fisher indicated that she wanted to go to the world champs.
"Aimee didn't make herself available for crew boats for the Olympics but she's continued to paddle and she decided she did want to trial for world champs and she won the trial so she's off to world champs and we're supportive of that."
Ashley says they decided they wouldn't send any team boats to the world champs this year because it wasn't a focus with the Olympics and also because of the Covid situation which made it significantly more risky and expensive.
"However we've supported any individuals who wanted to go, as long as they had a strong health and safety plan."
Ashley wouldn't expand on any apparent differences that there may have been between the national body and Fisher.
"People make decisions for difference reasons, our job as an organisation is to support people to go kayaking and particularly to support people who are fast and Aimee has certainly proven that she is fast so we would not want to stand in the way of anyone's opportunity in the sport."
26-year-old Fisher won two silver medals in K2 and K4 events at the 2018 world championships and she was part of the K4 500 crew that finished fifth at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Ashley said it's unclear if Fisher wants to get back into the national squad.
"There is an alternative pathway for people who want to just paddle K1s and that doesn't require being in the squad, we're certainly open to discussions.
"We haven't had the conversation about next year but I do understand that Aimee has longer term ambitions in paddling which is fantastic.
"We're keen to have anyone competing in the sport, the sport is too small to have bad blood and we want to support any fast kayakers who want to compete internationally and anyone that wants to participate in the sport at any level."
Meanwhile Canoe Sports plan to celebrate their team's Olympic success is on hold because of Covid, but they will hold a pōwhiri at some stage.
The team, including triple gold medalist Lisa Carrington, are now out of quarantine and spending time with family.