Last push ahead for Kiwi kayaking champions


New Zealand’s remarkable kayaking renaissance seems likely to have a final chapter added tonight, as the world championships in the Czech Republic draw to a close.
After Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Ryan collected K2 500m gold and Carrington added K1 500m silver on the penultimate day, the Kiwi contingent head into the last day with two more realistic medal chances.

Lisa Carrington (front) and Caitlin Ryan celebrate their K2 500m win in Racice, Czech Republic, overnight.  Photo by Balint Vekassy/
Carrington is as warm a favourite as is likely to be in the K1 200m final, a distance she hasn’t been toppled in over an extraordinary seven-year reign.  She has won the last four world championship titles and two Olympic crowns and showed in last night’s semifinal she is still in imperious form, as the only paddler to break the 40sec barrier.
The K4 500m crew - with Carrington, Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie - could complete New Zealand’s greatest-ever world championship campaign, meanwhile, when they line up in their final.
New Zealand has won three world medals on three separate occasions; Paul MacDonald and Ian Ferguson picked up two golds and a silver in 1987, while Carrington and Teneale Hatton won two golds and a bronze in 2013 and two golds and a silver in 2014.
Having already created history by winning New Zealand’s first female team boat medal at world championship level, the Kiwi team could double that tally and add to the six gold medals Carrington has already won at the worlds.
Ryan, who collected her first when the pair powered away in last night’s K2 final and beat Germany’s Tina Dietze and Franziska Weber by nearly 2secs, admits she’s inspired to do more.
“Having that dream of being a world champion is one thing but even better, doing it with your mate, your teammate and someone who really inspires you is really, really exciting and I’m really proud and honoured to have had the opportunity to paddle alongside Lisa and win a world championship,” Ryan said. 
Carrington has now raced eight times at these championships and backing up after Belarus’s Volha Khudzenka dethroned her in the K1 500m just 70mins later was always going to be a challenge but she managed to put any lingering disappointment aside.
“We strive to win but I did all I could in the morning, so it was nice to put that one to bed and trust that I had a good team around me,” Carrington said. “A few months ago I didn’t really know I was going to do this event, so I’ve only been training with Caitlin for a few months. “This is why we do all the training that we do and I’ve been preparing for this for a while, so I just had to trust the process really.”
Ryan, meanwhile, was always confident her illustrious teammate would get up for the K2 final.
“I doubt think I’e ever doubted her - everyone here can see what an amazing athlete she is and for me to doubt her would just be ridiculous!  I knew her heart was in it and we were just going to do what we needed to do.”
Carrington’s k1 200m final is at 8.46pm (NZ time), with the K4 final set for 9.47pm.
Link to download high-res footage of K1 500m and K2 500m finals:
Link to download high-res interview with Caitlin Ryan and Lisa Carrington:
List of NZ world championship medalists:
1982: Alan Thompson (K1 1000m silver); Alan Thompson/Paul MacDonald (K2 500m silver)
1983: Alan Thompson (K1 1000m bronze); Ian Ferguson (K1 500m silver)
1985: Paul MacDonald/Ian Ferguson (K2 500m gold); Grant Bramwell (K1 10,000m bronze)
1987: Paul MacDonald/Ian Ferguson (K2 1000m gold); Paul MacDonald (K1 500m gold); Paul MacDonald/Ian Ferguson (K2 500m silver)
1990: Paul MacDonald/Ian Ferguson (K2 10,000m silver)
2003: Ben Fouhy (K1 1000m gold)
2006: Ben Fouhy (K1 1000m bronze)
2011: Lisa Carrington (K1 200m gold)
2013: Lisa Carrington (K1 200m gold); Teneale Hatton (K1 5000m gold); Lisa Carrington (K1 500m bronze)
2014: Lisa Carrington (K1 200m gold); Teneale Hatton (K1 1000m gold); Lisa Carrington (K1 500m silver)
2015: Lisa Carrington (K1 200m gold); Lisa Carrington (K1 500m gold)