There have been lean pickings in recent years on the men's side of kayak sprinting; a group of high class women have become the standard bearers for the sport in New Zealand.

That shows through in the New Zealand team named for this week's world championships in Portugal, double Olympic champion Lisa Carrington leading a group of five women.

But there is a male presence alongside para-canoeists Scott Martlew and Peter Cowan, and a familiar paddling name too.

Quaid Thompson has been picked for the K1 1000m and K1 5000m events in Portugal, on the back of an encouraging under 23 world championships fourth placing.


He is the son of two-time Olympic champion Alan Thompson, of the golden days of 1984 and at 20 clearly a rising talent.

Thompson (father and son) spent several weeks training in Hungary with quality paddlers ahead of the world under 23 event — a bit like spending weeks in camp with the All Blacks, such is Hungary's standing in the sport — but Quaid Thompson admitted rather than being an eye-opener in terms of what they did, it reaffirmed the New Zealanders are on the right track.

"It was really good. They don't have a centralised model at all," he said.

"They train in clubs, then the best are selected and because the sport is so big the clubs are really good."

He worked with a group where about eight paddlers have been world or European championship medallists and several were Olympians.

"They were all pretty quick. It was just good to be able to be with a decent sized group of top guys, who are always competitive, always pushing yourself. It was really full on."

So they discovered it was not a case of learning new ideas or adjusting their principles "but it gave me more confidence in what we are doing. It just reinforced that the way they train, and we are training is working, and is the right way of doing it."

Alan Thompson was part of New Zealand's golden era of kayaking, along with Ian Ferguson, Grant Bramwell and Paul Macdonald, winning K1 1000m and K4 500m golds in Los Angeles 34 years ago.

His daughter Kim is also a member of the New Zealand women's squad, although not heading for the worlds this year.

Three years ago, the sport was in turmoil, with kayakers going to court seeking to overturn a decision around World Cup selection.

Zac Quickenden and Darryl Fitzgerald had lost sports tribunal appeals against a Canoe Racing New Zealand decision over sending a K2 1000m crew to Europe that year.

Both have now left the sport, along with Jarrod Fitzgerald.

That's left a gap in the men's ranks. Quaid Thompson said he understood the pair's position, and sympathised with it.

He isn't part of the CRNZ men's programme — ''I don't really agree with it'' — but works individually with his father as his coach.

Tokyo's Olympics in 2020 are firmly in his sights. These worlds are an important step for Thompson to show he's at least in the frame.

Carrington will contest the K1 200m and 500m, where she was first and second respectively at last year's worlds, and is in the K2 500m defending her crown with Caitlin Ryan, and to cap it off has the K4 500m with Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie.

Fisher and Imrie are in the K2 200m while Ryan has a busy programme, in the K4 500m and the gruelling K1 5000m event. Rebecca Cole also contests the K1 1000m.

The championships in Montemor O Velho run from this Thursday for five days.