Rio Gold Medalists Shine at Sprint World Championships


New Zealand's Lisa Carrington celebrates her World Championship gold in the Czech Republic.


Great Britain's Liam Heath after winning gold in the K1-200 at this year's Sprint World Championships.
Liam Heath, Lisa Carrington, the Hungarian women’s K4 500 and the German men’s K4 crew all won gold in front of a capacity crowd and in perfect paddling conditions.

In other Olympic events, Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe won the women’s C1 200, and Germany’s Yul Oeltze and Peter Kretschmer won the men’s C2 1000.

There was also a popular hometown win for Czech’s Josef Dostal in the K1 500, and Martin Fuksa in the C1 500.

Germany’s Sebastian Brendel was the most successful athlete of the weekend, picking up gold medals in the C4 1000 and the C1 5000 to add to his C1 1000 from Saturday.

Heath, who is set to become a father next month, withstood a strong challenge from Hungary’s Bence Horvath to win the K1 200 title.

“I felt the most pressure going into the first World Cup, because you don’t know what everyone else has been doing over the winter,” he said.

“As soon as you get that first race you get an idea how they’re going, and how you’re going, and I’ve always believed no-one can put more pressure on you than yourself to do the things you want to do, and you’re in complete control of that, so that’s how I’ve dealt with it.”

Carrington’s busy weekend of four events ended with two gold medals, the K1 200 victory continuing her unbeaten run at a World Championships and Olympic level since 2011.

But she’s not sure she’ll be able to maintain that schedule in the future.

“I do really enjoy it, I love going out there and performing, and the girls that I’m racing against inspire me to race as fast as I can,” Carrington said.

“It’s really difficult, the program doesn’t really allow for it. I hope that in the future we can do more, and there’s more leniency around it.

“And there’s a lot of really amazing paddlers in New Zealand as well, so we’ve got to give everyone a chance. I love doing every event, and I’m lucky to have that chance only because I have such a great team behind me.”

The Hungarian K4 women’s team returned to the top of the tree with a powerful win in their 500 metre final.

New Zealand went into the race as favourites, but the Hungarians paddled the perfect race to see if long-time rivals, Germany, with New Zealand finishing with the bronze.

Krisztina Fazekas-Zur, the only remaining member of the London and Rio gold medal winning crews, said

“I was expecting a very hard and close race, but we made our plan well and stuck to that well,” she said.

“We always believe that this event is very strong for us, so we really want to win all the time. Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but usually we manage to win.”

The men’s K4 1000 will be replaced by the K4 500 in Tokyo, and the Germans, 1000 gold medallists in Rio, have had no trouble transitioning to the shorter distance.

They powered to victory in Racice ahead of Spain and the Czech Republic.

“It’s a good starting point for us, because we put the new boat together, it makes us look forward to the next three years together,” Max Lemke said.

“It gives us some confidence for the next three years.”






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