Australian Canoe Sprint Grand Prix 2
Australia’s premier canoe sprint paddlers will fight it out for national selection at Grand Prix 2 in Sydney this weekend.
191 athletes will compete at GP2 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC) from 20 to 22 February.
Racing will get underway on Friday morning from 9am AEST.
Jo Brigden-Jones, Naomi Flood and Alana Nicholls will headline a strong women’s field.
The senior trio have spent the lead up competing at the New Zealand Sprint Championships last weekend.
All three featured on the podium at various stages, and will be the women to beat in the race for selection this weekend.
Queensland duo Alyce Burnett and Bernadette Wallace, Western Australian Jaime Roberts and South Australian Cat McArthur are just a few women who will be looking to challenge for the K1 200 and K1 500 titles.
Brigden-Jones and Flood remain the favourites to win the K2 500 title after finishing an encouraging seventh at the World Championships in Moscow last year.
The pair will also combine with Nicholls and Alyssa Bull, in a new look K4 500 crew.
Their battle with Wallace, Roberts, Burnett and McArthur should be a fascinating one.
A large field of 45 men will contest the K1 1000 event with the U23 age group stepping up to opens.
World Championship finalist Murray Stewart and Ken Wallace will resume their long standing rivalry in the fight for selection.
Watch out for U23 Worlds silver medalist Jordan Wood, who has been pressing his claims for a senior 1000 metre berth.
Wallace and Lachlan Tame will be the men to beat in K2 1000. The pair won silver at the World Championships last year and will prove hard to stop in Penrith this weekend.
They will face some tough competition from K4 Olympic champions Stewart and Jacob Clear, Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons, Michael Booth and Daniel Bowker, and Joel McKitterick and Jy Duffy.
The K4 1000 promises to be one of the highlights of the regatta and will pit the Olympic champs against the future stars with Clear, Stewart, Wallace and David Smith set to lock horns with McKitterick, Wood, Fitzsimmons and Duffy.
The men’s 200 metre events will have some international flair with athletes from New Zealand and the USA represented.
In one of the hardest races to pick, Tame, Western Australia trio Steve Bird, Brodie Holmes and Jesse Phillips, South Australian Callum Dunn and NSW Sprint Championship winner Rob McIntyre are expected to be fight it out for victory in the first selection trial.
London Olympic pair Bird and Phillips will be the ones to beat in the K2 200 ahead of fellow WAIS paddlers Holmes and Todd Brewer, Wallace and Tame, and New South Wales pair McIntyre and Mark Stowe.
The canoe events will also feature. Marius Florian will be the man to beat in the C1 1000, while Sebastian Marczak will be favourite in the C1 200 on Sunday.
Curtis McGrath will make his racing debut in a K1 boat following the International Paralympic Committee’s decision not to include V1 in the 2016 program.
McGrath has only been training in his new boat for a fortnight so it will be interesting to see how fast he can go.
Fellow 2014 Australian paracanoe members Brock Ingram, Colin Sieders and Amanda Reynolds will also feature.
Keep an eye out for West Lakes paddler Sam Germein and Andrew Stiles of Varsity Lakes who have been making inroads in their respective classes in the previous regattas.