New Zealand showcase another sprint canoe star at U23 World Championships

New Zealand’s Aimee Fisher has sent a warning to the rest of the paddling world with two dominant gold medal-winning performances on the final day of the ICF 2017 U23 and Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Pitesti, Romania.

Fisher’s victory in the K1 200 and 500 was the stand-out performance on a weekend where medals were shared among 30 different countries.

22 finals were contested on a jam-packed final day, which included Lithuania’s Henrikas Zustautas winning his third U23 C1 200 title, and in the process relegating Brazil’s three-time Olympic medallist, Isaquias dos Santos to the silver medal.

“It was more motivation because he was the bronze medallist in Rio, I was in Rio and I finished just 11th,” he said.

“For me that was bad, so I came here for revenge with him. I was nervous because it’s a World Championship, before the race I didn’t feel so good.”

After years of watching New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington dominating sprint canoe events, opponents will now have another kiwi to contend with following Fisher’s powerful double.

22-year-old Fisher finished ahead of the K1 200 field by more than half a second in the morning, and then smashed a world-class 500 metre field by more than two seconds.

It was a particularly emotional double for Fisher, who was forced to part ways with her coach, Rene Olsen, who is heading to coach in the UK.

“That was so good, there were a lot of emotions out there,” Fisher said.

“I just wanted it so bad, for Rene. I couldn’t have done any of this without him. Ever since the World Cups, every day he’s just been focusing for this moment, so I wanted to send him out in style and thank him for everything he’s done.

“I feel like I had some pretty good survival mode strokes at the end there. Every stroke back home in those key sessions, I was thinking about this moment.”

Hungary finished the World Championships as the most successful nation, picking up seven gold medals and 18 overall, with Germany finishing second with four golds and seven medals.

Other countries to win gold over the weekend included Argentina, Moldova, Australia, China and Lithuania, while Mexico, Belgium, Iran and Cuba were among the minor medal winners.

Host nation Romania thrilled the big home crowd with three medals on the final day, two silver and a bronze. 

Canoe Sprint
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