Prospects of a rule change for kayaking in the Tokyo Olympics could have a positive impact on New Zealand's medal prospects.
Countries have been limited to one entry per event, but moves are afoot to double that for the next Games — and for New Zealand's women that may open doors to increased chances of making the podiums in 2020.
New Zealand's elite women, three-time Olympic medallist Lisa Carrington, North Shore's Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher from Hawkes Bay and Mana's Kayla Imrie, are a major force on the world stage and have bagged a pile of medals since the start of last year's international circuit.
That shows no sign of slowing after collecting four gold medals in the opening World Cup regatta in Szeged, Hungary, at the weekend.
Carrington won titles in the K2 200m with former under 23 world champion Fisher, the K2 500m with Imrie and was at the front of the dominant K4. Ryan, who won the world K2 500m title with Carrington last year, triumphed in the K1 500m in a sizzling time of 1min 46.576s.
However if the International Canoe Federation push ahead with what is just a proposal at this stage, it would offer the likes of Fisher and Ryan, in particular, the chance of competing alongside Carrington in certain disciplines in Tokyo.
"We certainly have heard whispers and rumblings about that," Canoe Racing New Zealand chief executive Tom Ashley said last night. "I think the chances are quite good it will happen, but we haven't had official confirmation of it.
''We understand that is their (ICF) intention. We won't be counting any chickens, but we are hopeful."
The former Olympic gold medal-winning windsurfer cautioned that while it would be terrific for New Zealand, given its stature in the women's disciplines, other countries would also fancy their prospects of more medals.
"The thing to remember is we're not the only country with a good team.
''Hungary are super strong, Germany are strong. They'll be licking their lips as well so it's not just us who will be happy.
''The depth at the front of the field I think will get a lot tougher," Ashley said.
So much of the women's success has spun off the initial high profile Carrington brought to the sport in this country. She has been influential in turning younger women onto the sport.
The fact there might be room for the other three paddlers to get onto an Olympic startline alongside Carrington, instead of cheering her from dry land, should provide a hefty motivation in the next two years.
It was business as usual for the women in Hungary.
Ryan, Fisher and Imrie each picked up two golds with Carrington the glue in the operation.
"For me personally there's been a lot of changes, but it really feels like it's coming together now," Carrington, who has won the last two K1 200m Olympic golds, said. "We just need to keep striving to keep getting better.''
There was also success for the sole male paddler in the team, Para competitor Scott Martlew. He benefitted from a reclassifiation into a more even KL2 competition and picked up a silver in the 200m event.
The second and last cup regatta is at Duisburg, Germany, starting on Friday