The second day of the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, Germany has produced some entertaining racing in front of a packed house with all of the big-names advancing to their respective finals.
Aided by a slight tailwind for the majority of the day, Currumbin Creek star Ken Wallace continued his fine start to this year’s Worlds winning his K1 1000 semifinal and moving into Saturday’s final.
Wallace got off to a solid start before pulling away in the final 250 metres to win comfortably in 3:37.45, 0.94 seconds ahead of Jost Zakrajsek of Slovenia.
The 30 year old earlier dominated his heat and will be one of the favourites for a podium berth where he will come up against London Olympic bronze medallist Max Hoff of Germany, Slovakian kayaker Peter Gelle and Danish star Rene Holten Poulsen.
Fellow 1000 metre men Jacob Clear and Murray Stewart cruised through to the men’s K2 1000 final.
The pair finished second in their semifinal, just under a second behind the Belarus crew of Pavel Miadzvedzeu and Aleh Yurenia.
The Australian pair lead the way with 250 metres to go just like they had done in their heat earlier in the day before reducing their stroke rate to finish second across the line, with the top three boats from each semifinal advancing to the final.
Bayswater kayaker Alana Nicholls secured the last K1 500 finals places after she finished third in semifinal two of the coveted women’s K1 500.
With the top two automatically progressing the to the final, Nicholls faced an anxious wait before discovering that her time of 1:54.31 was the fastest time of the third placegetters across the four semifinals to secure a finals spot.
Victorian paracanoeist Amanda Drennan was the only Australian to feature in a final on Thursday finishing eighth in the women’s leg, trunk and arms (LTA) K1 200 final.
The 25 year old finished 5.65 seconds behind Canadian Christine Gauthier who won the gold in 54.32. British paddler Anne Dickens finished second, with Cindy Moreau of France coming in third.
“It was good, I really enjoyed it”, she said.
“The girls were really quick out there today, I just tried to hold on as long as I could but it was great to compete in my first final and I can’t wait for next year.”
Bernadette Wallace and Naomi Flood narrowly missed out on a spot in the women’s K2 500 final after the Russian crew of Vera Sobetova and Natalia Podolskaya edged the Australian’s by 0.26 seconds for third, with the top three advancing to the finals.
Earlier Coffs Harbour’s Marius Florian finished ninth in his C1 1000 semifinal. Florian finished more than 30 seconds behind Hungarian champion Atillia Vajda.
In the final event of the day the women’s K2 1000 semifinals, U23 pair Alyce Burnett and Amy Peters finished second in their semifinal to secure a berth in the final.
Racing continues tomorrow with Australia’s London K4 gold medal winning crew of Tate Smith, David Smith, Stewart and Clear coming together for their first international race this year.
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