Olympic Veterans to Head Australia's 2017 World Cup Squad
Triple Olympian Ken Wallace and 2012 gold medallist Murray Stewart have been named in an Australian sprint canoe squad to compete on this year’s World Cup and World Championships circuit.
Also heading to Europe will be Olympic K2 500 finalists, Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett, Rio Olympians Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood, and 2012 London Olympian, Jo Brigden-Jones.
Australia’s medal winning Paralympics trio of Curtis McGrath, Amanda Reynolds and Susan Seipel will compete in the Paracanoe World Championships, along with Rio Paralympians Jocelyn Neumueller and Dylan Littlehales.
Wallace sat out the Australian National Championships in Penrith this week with a back injury, but met the selection criteria.
The veteran won gold in the K1 500 in Beijing in 2008, narrowly missed a medal in London in 2012, and then won bronze with Lachlan Tame in the K2 1000 last year.
Stewart showed he has lost none of his speed by winning the K1 1000 and 500 double this week.
Joining the team will be debutants Simon McTavish, Robert McIntyre, Bill Bain and Jayden Ellis, while Matt Goble makes a return to the team after last competing internationally in 2010.
Goble and McIntyre won a hotly contested men’s K2 200 final on the last day of competition to secure their plane tickets for Europe.
“Considering we’re a brand new crew, and haven’t done a lot of work together in a boat, we’re pretty happy with what we’ve done,” McIntyre said.
“It’s given me a new lease of life, that I can pursue something a bit better than just rocking up to Nationals.
“Since U23’s it’s been a bit hard to crack into the team again, now the prospect of going overseas has sparked our motivation and we really want to explore what we can do, and be versatile. The future looks bright, that’s for sure.”
Australia will have five women on their World Cup campaign, with K4 crew members Jaime Roberts and Cat McArthur joining Bull and Burnett.
Brigden-Jones, on the comeback trail after missing selection for last year’s Olympics, won the K1 200 in Penrith.
Missing from the Rio squad are Jacob Clear and Lachlan Tame, who have only just returned to training, and Steve Bird, Daniel Bowker and Naomi Flood, who are taking a break from competing.
Selectors also named Australian U23 and junior squads, and will name the canoe squad next week.