Four years on from Australia’s memorable K4 1000 gold medal in London, four good friends will set out tonight on one of the most picturesque canoe courses in the world to defend that title.
The crew of Ken Wallace, Riley Fitzsimmons, Jake Clear and Jordan Wood could not have been more impressive in finishing third in their heat, and then storming to victory in choppy conditions in their semi-final.
And while winning the heat would have put Australia straight into the final, Wallace said the crew didn’t mind having another race.
“We expected to do a semi, and in hindsight I think it was a good idea to do a semi because it gave Jordan and Rizz and Jake an extra hitout, not necessarily to get rid of the nerves, but to hear the gun go and run through the motions, and get our race plan underway,” he said.
“We hacked our way down the course because it was so windy and so bumpy. It’s just a washing machine out there.”
Clear is the only remaining member of the London gold medal boat.
“It has been a long four years,” he said.
“It’s great that it’s here now, this week has gone pretty slow for me and Rizz, just sitting on the bank watching everyone else race.
“We’re really looking forward to tomorrow – it’s a big pressure race, the semi-final, everyone wants to make that final and they put everything on the line, so it’s great we held it together so well in that race, it’s a good sign for tomorrow.
“We haven’t seen any of the other crews for eight or nine weeks, so you don’t know how everyone else is travelling, so today was a really good test for that, to see where we are.”
The K4 1000 final will run at 11:12pm, AEST.