Murray Stewart has won his second gold medal of the Oceania Sprint Championships and Grand Prix 2 regatta in Adelaide with victory in the men’s K1 1000 A final today.
It was an important victory for Stewart as it moves him a step closer to securing a place in Rio as the final doubled as the first of two Olympic selection trials with the second to take place in Perth next month.
The 2015 World Championship finalist got off to his trademark fast start and was never headed to finish 3.95 seconds ahead of Gold Coast paddler Jordan Wood in 3:29.87.
Stewart’s fellow London Olympic K4 gold medallist, Jacob Clear finished third in 3:34.05, narrowly ahead of Swiss kayaker Fabio Wyss.
“It was tough conditions out there, there was a nice tailwind but a little bit bumpy so it was definitely a hard race,” Stewart said.
“The level is great here, not only the level of the Australian paddlers but also there are some good international paddlers here at the moment and so from that point of view it is very tough competition.”
Stewart is on track to receive an Olympic nomination in the men’s K4 1000 event as well after he combined with Kenny Wallace, Lachlan Tame and Clear to win the final on Friday.
Stewart was pleased to return to the K4 after focusing on the K1 in the latter stages of 2015.
“I really love racing in the K4 and I did not really want to not race in the K4 last year so from my point of view it is a different crew but it is a bit like an old glove sitting in seat three with Jake (Clear) behind me in four, it is great,” Stewart said.
“I love the team atmosphere and the team environment so it was really nice to get a win in that event.”
If presented with the opportunity, Stewart hopes to be able to race both the K1 and K4 events at the Olympic Games this year.
“Definitely, I think similarly with Loccy and Kenny in the K2 there is a good opportunity to double up in two events, they are looking pretty good for a potential K2/K4 double up but if the opportunity is there I will definitely take it,” Stewart said.
Stewart will look to secure himself Olympic nomination with two more wins at the National Sprint Championships in Perth from the 2 to 6 March.
“For each race they will have a second selection in Perth and if there is a different winner they will have a third selection as well so Perth is going to be the real conclusive regatta for us for Olympic selection.”
Wood’s second place performance saw him secure the under-23 K1 1000 title ahead of Bill Bain and Riley Fitzsimmons.
The under-18 K1 1000 final was won by Victorian Oliver James in 3:52.12, 2.23 seconds ahead of local paddler Reece Bacchus.