Rio athletes make strong start to Adelaide Grand Prix

Canoe Sprint / Featured / General / Dec 9, 2016

Rio Olympic teammates Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons have fought out a tight K1 1000m final on the first day of competition at Australian Canoeing’s first Grand Prix of the season at West Lakes in Adelaide.

22-year-old Wood took the win over his K4 partner, finishing close to three seconds ahead of 20-year-old Fitzsimmons.

Queensland’s Joel McKitterick finished third.

McKitterick partnered with Wood, Fitzsimmons and Sunshine Coast’s Bill Bain to win the men’s K4 1000 late on Friday.

And Rio Paralympic teammates, Amanda Reynolds and Jocelyn Neumueller, have fought out the final of the women’s K1 MC 1000, with Olympic silver medallist Reynolds taking the gold with a 23-second margin of the South Australian.

Wood and Fitzsimmons also teamed up to win their heat of the K2 1000, the event in which they won the 2015 World U23 title.

But they were pushed all the way by McKitterick and Bain, eventually finishing 0.89 seconds ahead.

They will race the final on Saturday morning.

Wood and Fitzsimmons are expected to be a major part of Australian Canoeing’s plans for Tokyo 2020 after making impressive Olympic debuts in Rio.

The pair were part of the K4 1000 crew that finished a close fourth, and Wood also teamed up with fellow debutant Daniel Bowker to contest the K2 200.

In other events on Friday, Perth’s Jaime Roberts just held out her World Championships teammate, South Australia’s Cat McArthur, to win the K1 500 by 0.86 seconds.

Roberts then partnered with fellow Western Australian, Shannon Reynolds, to win the women’s K2 500, 1.73 seconds ahead of McArthur and NSW’s Ella Beere.

West Lakes paddler, Charlie Kneebone-Ellis, won the men’s C1 1000, and another local, Sam Germain, won the paracanoe men’s K1 MC 1000.