World champion Lisa Carrington heads the five-strong New Zealand canoeing team to compete at this year's Olympic Games that also includes former Olympic silver medallist Ben Fouhy.

Carrington will race in both the K1 200m, the event she won at last year's world championships in Hungary and a new event on the Olympic programme, and the K2 500m with Erin Taylor.

Fouhy will start in the K1 1000m and Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald will contest the K2 1000m.

Promising paddler Teneale Hatton will travels to the upcoming World Cup races in Poland and Germany in an attempt meet the qualifying criteria in the K1 500m. She is presently ranked 19th in the world in the event but needs to prove she is a top-16 candidate to meet criteria set by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.


"Our hopes are certainly high for Lisa,'' New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general Kereyn Smith said. "While London will be her first Olympic Games, she's going in ranked No 1 in the world.

"The rest of the team are all sitting in the world's top 10 and, in the case of Taylor, Ferguson and Fouhy, have Olympic experience already behind them. They're a group of athletes that have what it takes to make New Zealand proud.''

Ferguson is heading for his fourth Olympics after first representing New Zealand in swimming in 2000. He teamed up with Fouhy at Athens in 2004 and competed again at Beijing in 2008.

Fouhy is heading for his third Olympic Games (2004 and 2008) and Taylor competed in Beijing in 2008.

The team leaves on Tuesday to compete at in two World Cup events in Poznan, Poland and Duisberg, Germany and will remain in Europe to train through to the Olympic Games. This gives the paddlers an additional 26 training days.

"This is the first time we have taken this approach and we believe it will provide significant benefits to our athletes,'' Canoe Racing New Zealand chief executive Paula Kearns said.

New Zealand has won eight medals in canoe racing, including four gold medals in 1984.
Today's announcement brings the New Zealand Olympic team to 85, with a further 100 athletes expected to be named over the next three months.

New Zealand team: Lisa Carrington (women's K1 200m/K2 500m), Erin Taylor (women's K2 500m), Steven Ferguson (men's K2 1000m), Darryl Fitzgerald (men's K2 1000m), Ben Fouhy (men's K1 1000m).

Support staff: Grant Restall (high performance manager), Gordon Walker (open team coach), Ian Ferguson (MK2 coach), James Saunders (physiotherapist).