China flexed its muscles and picked up three gold medals in Olympic-class events on day two of the International Canoe Federation’s Canoe Sprint World Cup in Poznan, Poland on Saturday.

The New Zealand duo of Lisa Carrington and Alicia Hoskin made it two from two in the women’s K2 500, while the German men’s K4 won not only their 500 metre final, but then split the crew in half to finish first and second in the K2 500.

The powerhouse Chinese women’s C2 combination of Shixiao Xu and Mengya Sun continued their domination of the race which made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.

The pair have not been beaten since the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, and again made short work of their opponents in Poland.

“It was a little bit different to the World Cup in Szeged, but still we managed to win this race,” Xu said.

“We have to keep calm, keep our feet on the ground and prepare for the Olympics.”

China women k4 500 Poznan canoe sprint 2024

Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan and Anastasisa Rybachok celebrated their return to top level racing this year with silver, while Germany’s Lisa Jahn and Hedi Kliemke took third.

China’s Hao Liu and Bowen Ji broke through for a long overdue win in the men’s C2.

“We have been training really great, but didn’t show our results in Szeged,” Liu said.

“Whereas this time we came to Poznan, we made some adjustments and I think the next step we are going to enhance what we have been doing over the next few weeks and be prepared for Paris.”

Poland picked up silver and bronze, with Wiktor Glazunow and Arsen Sliwinski finishing second and Aleksander Kitewski and Oleksii Koliadych taking third.

China’s third gold medal came in a very competitive women’s K4 500.

Starting from the outside lane, the Chinese crew were involved in a tight tussle with the fast-starting New Zealand team in the middle of the course.

In a blanket finish China edged out the team in black by just 0.12, with Poland’s Olympic bronze medallist crew finishing third.

“We met strong opponents but we still made it,” Chinese crew member Mengdie Yin said.

“We are so excited to win this race and I would like to thank my teammates, my family and my country.”

Germany, who were surprise winners in Szeged two weeks ago, finished fourth.

It was business as usual in the men’s K4 500, with the reigning Olympic gold medallists Germany once again showing they are the crew to beat to win gold in Paris.

The German quartet led from start to finish, and even had the luxury of easing up on the finish line to take gold ahead of China and Slovakia.

“Usually we struggle a little bit at the start of the season, so this gives us confidence our training in the winter was right,” crew member Max Lemke said.

Lisa Carrington Alicia Hoskin New Zealand women K2 500 canoe sprint Poznan 2024

“We know what we did wrong in the past years, so we hope we can continue to improve and be even better for the Olympics.”

The K4 then split into two K2s, with Lemke and Jacob Schopf taking gold and Max Rendschmidt and Tom Liebscher-Lucz the silver. Poland’s Jakub Stepun and Przemyslaw Korsak finished third.

Carrington will head to Paris this year looking to defend her Tokyo K2 500 gold, this time with a new partner. Her pairing with Hoskin has proved successful, with the pair winning both ICF Canoe Sprint World Cups this month.

On Saturday the New Zealanders held off the impressive German combination of Lena Roehlings and Pauline Jagsch, with Poland’s Justyna Iskrzycka and Dominika Putto third.

The second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup will finish on Sunday, with finals in the men’s K1 and C1 1000 and the women’s K1 500 and C1 200 along with several non-Olympic finals.

The 5000 metre races will wrap up the programme, the last major international sprint event before the Paris 2024 Olympics.

For all the results from today’s races, click here.

Pics by Bence Vekassy

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