K4 on their way to Gold
Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear
Australia's Canoe sprint Olympians return to action tomorrow for Grand Prix 3 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre with a star studded field assembled for the three day event.
Headlining the 2013 event will be London Olympic K4 1000 champions Tate Smith (QLD), David Smith (QLD), Murray Stewart (NSW) and Jacob Clear (QLD), with the quartet excited to be back in action and looking forward to a big 2013.
"Preparation has been good. We had a K4 training camp last week and Smithy (David Smith) and Jake (Clear) are looking fast,"Â said Tate Smith.
"I personally am looking forward to racing all the distances, getting fitter and going fast and fine tuning ahead of Nationals in April."Â
Racing will commence on Friday morning with mens K1 1000 and womens K1 500 heats to get racing underway.
The mens K1 1000 event promises to be fiercely competitive with K4 stars Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear set to battle it out with Sweedish gun Anders Gustafsson for line honours, with the Swede coming off a fifth place finish at the London Olympic Games.
Currumbin Creek veteran Ken Wallace leads a list of challengers after impressing at the Oceania Championships in New Zealand a fortnight ago, winning six events. Three of those victories came in a K2 alongside Lachlan Tame, another exciting young paddler who will be one to watch this weekend.
Tame and Wallace will also combine in the K2 1000 event with the duo looking to continue their red hot New Zealand form. They will face strong competition from K4 paddlers Clear and Stewart, and Tate and David Smith, while the Western Australian crew of Reece Baker and Daniel Bowker should keep everyone on their toes.
The womens K1 500 heats will follow on Friday morning with Western Australian Alana Nicholls back on track and out for Olympic redemption after a disappointing London campaign.
The 26 year old will face tough competition from London Olympic K1 200 champion Lisa Carrington who has made the trip across the Tasman, while Manly Warringahs Naomi
Flood to mount a strong challenge, with the 26 year old paddling full of confidence following an impressive second place finish in the 2012/13 Telstra Ironwoman Series.
On Saturday, Australia's 200m specialists will get their chance to hit the water at SIRC with Carrington, Nicholls and NSWIS paddler Jo Brigden-Jones amongst the favourites to post a win.
Western Australian Steve Bird, Manly Warringah's Murray Stewart, emerging paddlers Lachlan Tame and Nick Dawe, and Gold Coast's Joel Simpson will fight out the K1 200 title, with Simpson particularly hungry for the win after narrowly missing out on Olympic selection last year.
GP3 will also provide U23 athletes with the first chance to win points towards Australian selection and although the likes of Bill Bain (QLD), Alyce Burnett (QLD), Glenn Rypp (SA), Callum Dunn (SA) and Cat McArthur (VIC) will be eyeing a spot on the Under 23 team, expect the action to be hot and fiercely competitive at the Sydney Olympic venue.
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