CANOE SPRINT racing finally returns to Australia for the start of the 2014/15 domestic season in Adelaide tomorrow.
127 athletes will compete at Grand Prix `1 with the 1000 metre men and 500 metre women’s events to be contested on the opening day.
A strong field of 36 men will contest the K1 1000 event which will get the program underway from 9:30am local time.
U23 World Championship silver medallist Jordan Wood will be out to defend his title after sharing the podium with Michael Booth and Lachlan Tame in 2013.
That however will be a tough ask with Currumbin Creek star Ken Wallace and Gold Coast paddler Jacob Clear returning to the event this year.
Other names to keep a close eye on include Queensland trio Bill Bain, Joel McKitterick and Jy Duffy, and Western Australian Daniel Bowker.
The K2 1000 will feature recent World Championship silver medallists Wallace and Tame.
Tame will be looking to defend his title after sharing first place honours with Todd Brewer last year.
Having focused on the 200 metre event in previous Australian summers Tame plans to race the 1000 metre events at domestic level this season.
“I’m looking to do a few more 1000’s races this year, and we might try and race K2 domestically this year. We didn’t do that last year so that would be pretty cool to see what we can do there,” Tame said.
Tame admits that he doesn’t enjoy the pain of the longer distance but loves racing.
“I couldn’t say I love it, but I love the enjoyment of trying to get it right, trying to put the processes in place during the race is enjoyable,” he said.
Reflecting on his World Championship silver in Moscow he finds it a bit bewildering, “I have such a great partner, such a quality partner, so for me to get the chance to paddle with such a smart person is amazing. The reality is now I’ve got to really get stuck into it this year and see what I can produce ahead of Rio.”
London Olympic K4 teammates Clear and David Smith, 2013 bronze medallists Luke Haniford and Zac Ryan, Duffy and Wood, and Booth and Glenn Rypp are just some of the crews capable of pushing the red hot pair.
The canoeists will also be in action on the opening day.
West Lakes’ paddler Jason Nejman will be out to defend his C1 1000 title.
He will face tough competition from Penrith Valley canoeist Marius Florian, and fellow club members Benjamin Keogh, Thomas Clarken, Jace Bayliss and Gabriel Tramaglino.
The women will also feature on the opening day with Bayswater kayaker Alana Nicholls and Sunshine Coast paddler Alyce Burnett favourites to win their respective K1 500 heats and advance to Saturday’s final.
Since the conclusion of the senior World Championships in August, Burnett has spent a lot of hours in the gym focusing on building her strength as team boats are a focus for the Australian women in 2015.
“I have been doing a lot of gym work to improve my strength and as a result I have not done a lot of paddling,” Burnett said.
“GP1 kick-starts the paddling phase of our training block with a camp on the Murray River to follow where we will be doing a lot of kilometers,” she said.
“This event will be more about the process than the final result.”
Other women set to feature prominently include Bayswater pair Phoebe George and Shannon Reynolds, Holdfast Bay paddler Cat McArthur and Alyssa Bull of Kawana Waters.
The paracanoe athletes will also feature on Friday with Colin Sieders, Glenn Pyne, Brock Ingram, Amanda Reynolds, Curtis McGrath and Susanne Seipel headlining a strong start list.
For race information including start lists and results on the day visit www.regattas.canoe.org.au