Australia have won two bronze medals on the final day of racing at the ICF Junior and under-23 World Championships in Portugal.
Inspired by the men’s efforts on Saturday, it was the under-23 women that stepped up on the final day of racing in Montemor-o-Velho, taking Australia’s medal tally to four.
22 year old Catherine McArthur won Australia’s third medal of the championships when she held on to edge out German Nina Krankemann by 0.208 seconds to win bronze in the K1 500 A final.
The Holdfast Bay kayaker got off to a terrific start, powering out of the gates to open up a boat length lead heading towards the half way mark.
Racing from lane one, McArthur continued her high stroke rate through the middle parts of the race but was overtaken by two boats in the closing stages.
The South Australian finished 1.800 seconds behind Hungarian Dora Bodonyi who won the gold in 1:54.908.
“It is incredible, I am just so on cloud nine at the moment, I do not know how to feel, I am just really excited and so grateful and thankful,” McArthur said.
As McArthur crossed the finish she had no idea if she had taken bronze and faced a nervous wait before her one of her coaches, Nathan Luce yelled out the result.
“When I crossed the line I didn’t know, I looked around and Anna (Wood) said she thought I was third but I didn’t want to get too excited then and then Nathan just yelled out so that is when I knew it.”
Queensland duo Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett sent the Australian team out in style by winning bronze in the K2 500 A final.
They finished 1.792 seconds behind Germany who won the final in 1:46.732 ahead of Hungary.
“I think this one is definitely better than last year when I picked up bronze in the K1, this year in K2 it is way better to do it with a teammate,” Burnett said.
Bull found the conditions tough going with the final racing into a head cross wind, but overall was happy with how the race unfolded.
“The last 50 metres felt like we were coming back into it a little bit. We came out well, hung on strong and finished well so it was good,” Bull said.
Both Burnett and Bull will return to training alongside the senior women in preparation for the senior World Championships which will be held in Milan next month.
“This weekend for us was a bit of a race rehearsal ready for Milan so now we know what not to work on and what are our strengths and weaknesses,” Burnett said.
Yesterday’s heroes, Riley Fitzsimmons and Jordan Wood were unable to repeat their gold medal heroics when they combined with Joel McKitterick and Jy Duffy to finish fourth in the under-23 K4 1000 final.
After a slow start, the Australia quad powered home in final 250 metres but ran out of water, with the Czech Republic finishing just 0.080 seconds ahead of them to take the bronze medal.
Earlier, Avoca kayaker Ella Beere continued her remarkable rise in the past 12 months to finish seventh in the junior women’s K1 200 A final.
The 17 year old only began sprint paddling a year ago and showed plenty of signs that she could be a future star on her junior Worlds debut.
Beere finished 2.040 seconds behind Hungarian Luca Homonnai who won the gold in 42.582.
Four Australian boats contested B finals with South Australian Francesca Kidd a standout in the junior K1 500.
The 18 year old finished second in a time of 2:01.100, which would have placed her fifth in the A final.
Fellow junior women Keily Dober and Caitlin Burt-Poloai combined to finish sixth in the K2 500 B final.
South Australian Callum Dunn and Ben McLean bounced back from narrowly missing an A final berth in their semifinal on Sunday to finish third in the under-23 K2 200 B final.
They recorded a time of 33.424 to finish 12th overall.
Fellow under-23 200 metre specialist Rob McIntyre recorded a time of 36.404 to finish second in the K1 200 C final.
Finally on his junior worlds debut, West Lakes canoeist Charles Ellis finished ninth in the men’s C1 200 B final.