London K4 1000 champions at Nationals
The second ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup gets underway on Friday and concludes on Sunday
More than 600 athletes from 40 countries will participate across 26 events in the small town of Racice in the Czech Republic.
Australia will field a team of 12 athletes, five of whom will be making their first World Cup appearance of the year.
Two of those are Tate Smith and David Smith. They will join fellow Olympic gold medallists Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear to contest the K4 1000 event.
While the two Smiths sat out the first World Cup, Stewart and Clear produced an excellent start to their international seasons winning silver in the K2 1000.
The ‘K4wesome’ as they are now affectionately known have one eye on the World Championship title this year and will hoping to set the foundations for what is to come with a strong performance on Friday.
Stewart will also contest the coveted K1 1000 alongside Queensland veteran Ken Wallace.
Wallace was Australia’s standout performer at the opening World Cup winning gold in the K1 5000 and bronze in the K1 500.
The 30 year old will need to make up a couple of seconds if he is to improve on his sixth place finish in the K1 1000 at the opening World Cup with a stronger field assembled this weekend.
Wallace will once again contest his two medal winning events, the K1 5000 and K1 500 alongside promising U23 kayaker Jordan Wood.
The 19 year old will be looking to improve on his 9th (K1 5000) and 11th (K1 500) place finishes at World Cup 1.
Overseeing the 1000 metre men in training has been National Head Coach Jimmy Owens.
“Preparations are going good, the boys are in good shape and in a great space as we head to Racice today ahead of World Cup 2,” Owens said on Wednesday.
Western Australian trio Stephen Bird, Jesse Phillips and Brodie Holmes will make their first World Cup appearances of the year.
Bird and Phillips recently won their fifth consecutive K2 200 National title and will contest that event in Racice.
Holmes will line up alongside National Champion Lachlan Tame in the K1 200.
It will be Holmes first time contesting his preferred discipline at an international event.
Only two women will feature at the second World Cup.
NSWIS pair Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood will line up in a newly formed K2 500 boat.
Brigden-Jones showed promising signs following her extended layoff last year through injury at the first World Cup.
The 26 year old will also contest the K1 200 where she will be hoping to build on her ninth place finish.
Flood will also line up in the non-Olympic K1 1000 event.
The remainder of the Australian women will continue to train at the European Training Centre (ETC) in Varese, Italy ahead of the third ICF World Cup from 23-25 May in Hungary.
Racing will commence on Friday morning from 9am local time (5pm AEST).
The women’s 500 and men’s 1000 metre events will be contested on the opening day.
Australian Event List
MK1 1000 - Ken Wallace & Murray Stewart
MK4 1000 - Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart & Jacob Clear
MK1 500 - Ken Wallace & Jordan Wood
MK1 5000 - Ken Wallace & Jordan Wood
MK1 200 - Lachlan Tame & Brodie Holmes
MK2 200 - Jesse Phillips & Steve Bird
WK1 1000 - Naomi Flood
WK2 500 - Jo Brigden-Jones & Naomi Flood
WK1 200 - Jo Brigden-Jones
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