Australia Secures three Olympic Quotas at Oceania Championships
Lisa Carrington has won the Women’s K1 200m at the 2012 Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships. The New Zealander had already secured New Zealand a quota at last year’s World Championships in Szeged. Alana Nicholls (AUS) took second place and finished as the highest placed Australian in what was the second selection event for the Australian Olympic nomination. Nicholls is now the first Sprint paddler to gain Olympic nomination for London 2012. Third place went to Hannah Davis (AUS).
An emotional Nicholls was pleased with her performance, but was still focused on the job at hand with her K1 500 event on tomorrow.
“It’s everything I’ve ever dreamt of.”
“You come into these regattas and it’s so nerve-wracking. You put everything on hold and your life has to really stop so you can give it everything so when you’re on the start line all of that plays with your head so it was just good to get out there, have a good race and get it done the quickest way possible.”
“While I am excited, my subconscious must not be letting me get too excited because I’ve still got things to think about and a big race tomorrow.”
Nicholls took a break from competition in 2010 before producing a breakthrough year in 2011 and has carried that form into 2012 and credits the year away from the sport as having a big bearing on her development as a paddler.
“I definitely think it had a huge impact on my career, in a positive way. I was so naive coming into the sport in 2008 and found it difficult physically and mentally to adjust from a sport like surf life saving.”
“The break gave me time to mentally recharge and think about what I wanted to be doing. I'm glad I did it and happy I made the decision to try again.”
Australia’s Joel Simpson also kept his Olympic dream alive with a victory in today’s Men’s K1 200m final. In a tight affair Simpson edged teammate Matt Urquhart by 0.08 seconds, with Murray Stewart finishing third 0.02 seconds further adrift in a scintillating spectacle.
“I was a little bit nervous before the race and I’m obviously pretty happy that I ended up winning,” Simpson said.
“Obviously Matt’s paddling unbelievably well and Murray as well, so it was a pretty tight finish.”
“I was pretty lucky to win I suppose.”
Earlier in the day Simpson secured Australia the Men’s K1 200m quota after victory in the first heat from which the 25 year old finished well clear of Cook Island’s Josh Utanga and Athens silver medallist Ben Fouhy (NZL), who finished 3rd and 4th respectively.
Australia secured a third Olympic quota in the Men’s C1 200m after Sebastian Marczak was too good is his heat cruising to victory ahead of Thomas Duffie (SAM) and Rudolf Williams (COK).
The 29 year old then went on to win the final, powering out of the start gates to cross the finish line in 43.45, 1.71 seconds clear of 17 year old Alex Haas, with fellow Brothers’ paddler Michael Beaver finishing third.
The 2011 women’s World Championships K4 500m crew of Rachel Lovell, Hannah Davis, Jo Brigden-Jones and Lyndsie Fogarty (AUS) showed their class in the final winning gold in an impressive time of 1:37.31, showing that their preparations are right on track for London later this year, where they will be looking at improving on their 5th place finish in Szeged last year.
In the Men’s K4 1000m, Ken Wallace replaced David Smith in last year’s silver medal winning World Championship crew following Smith’s absence due to health reasons, but that didn’t stop the inevitable happening, with Wallace combining with Tate Smith, Jacob Clear and Murray Stewart for victory.
Tomorrow will see the Men’s and Women’s K1 1000m and 500m events contested, with the Men’s K1 1000m event making fans salivate, with the prospect of a Ken Wallace, Murray Stewart and Clint Robinson showdown in tomorrow’s final, the first Olympic nomination trial.
Wallace has been happy with his preparation.
“I have been really pleased with the way that I have been training, my times have been fantastic, it is just a matter of putting it all together on the day.”
After going down to Stewart at the Paddle New South Wales Sprint Championships earlier in the year, Wallace will be looking to bounce back with victory tomorrow.
“Murray is very fast and very strong.”
“It was really just my second race since nationals and this weekend will be my third (due to injury).”
“In big races I have overcome him in the past, but I will need to get off to a good start because he goes out hard and is strong enough to hold on.”
Barcelona gold medallist Clint Robinson (AUS) will look to get off to a good start tomorrow, with the 39 year old looking to join Equestrian legend Andrew Hoy, Sailor Colin Beashal and awesome foursome member James Tomkins in the exclusive group to have represented Australia at six Olympic Games.
“It would be an honour, and I know both those guys quite well so I’ll have to ask them what it meant to them.”
“I’m just looking at it as making another team, it’s a new year and I’m sure everyone will be as keen as mustard to go out there and beat me.”
By Infostrada Sports
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