ICF World Cup 2 Duisburg, GER 25/5/12
Alana Nicholls and Murray Stewart continue their fine form cruising through to their respective K1 A Finals on Saturday, the men’s K4 1000 crew show they are on track with a dominant semi final performance, while young Queensland duo Alex Haas and Jake Donaghey make improvements in the C2 events.
25 year old Manly Warringah paddler Murray Stewart has picked up where he left off at the Oceania and Australian Championships in March, finishing second in his K1 1000 semi-final, before combining with Queensland trio Jacob Clear, David Smith and Tate Smith to win the men’s K4 1000 semi final, where they will seek redemption against the German team that beat them to gold at last year’s World Championships in Hungary.
In his first competitive hit out since March, Stewart was thrashed straight back into the thick of it finishing 4th in his world class heat behind the likes of Adam van Koeverden and local favourite Max Hoff, before stepping it up a notch in the semi final to finish 2nd, wedged between two Brits, Tim Brabants and Paul Wycherley who finished first and third respectively as they continue their internal fight for Olympic selection.
Stewart was happy to get the first day’s racing out of the way and looks ahead to Saturday’s finals.
“It definitely blows a few cobwebs out that for sure, it was very tough racing out there, and as you say it’s the first race in a little while so it is definitely nice to make the (K1 1000) A Final,” said Stewart.
Asked about making two A finals on Saturday Stewart responded, “It is going to be a bit difficult tomorrow, it is going to be a balancing act with the K1 and the K4 quite close.”
“When both of those finals are on it is going to be quite tough, but I think we will manage.”
2011 Racice World Cup K1 500 gold medallist Alana Nicholls showed why she is on track to contend for a medal in London, winning her semi final on Friday in a dominant display from the Western Australian.
Nicholls finished in 1:53.97, 0.87 seconds ahead of Italy’s Josefa Idem and Sweden’s Sofia Paldanius, setting up an enticing final where she will come head to head with Finland’s Anne Rikala, Hungarian Danuta Kozak and Danish paddler Henriette Engel Hansen in the pursuit for line honours. The women’s K1 500 A Final is scheduled to commence at 7:00pm AUS EST.
Former Australian and World Ironman champion Naomi Flood put up a brave fight narrowly missing out on a chance to join Nicholls in the A final after finishing 4th in her K1 500 semi-final behind Danish champion Henriette Engel Hansen.
Flood will switch her focus to her Olympic event, the K2 500 when she lines up with Lyndsie Fogarty in Saturday’s heats and is confident about with the way the two are shaping up.
“Lyndsie and I are coming together really well, we have had a couple of really good sessions and we have got a new boat from Nelo, so we have got no complaints, no problems, no excuses, so just got to keep doing all the hard work, put the head down and get stuck into it.”
17 year old Brisbane young guns Alex Haas and Jake Donaghey have reached their first international C2 1000 B final after finishing 7th in the semi final in a time of 3:56.21, more than 14 seconds behind the Czech winning duo of Jaroslav Radon and Flip Dvorak.
“We made in into the B final, overall we are happy considering last year we were not even able to make it out of the semi,” said Haas.
Asked about what he thought of the venue, Donaghey replied, “It is a great course, probably one of the best courses that I have been too, it is my first time here and Duisburg has dished up some beautiful weather so it has been a cracking regatta so far and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”
In other results Beijing K1 500 Olympic champion Ken Wallace failed to join Stewart in the men’s K1 1000 A final, finishing fourth in his semi final and will race in Saturday’s B final, whilst the Currumbin paddler also got some valuable racing in ahead of Moscow next weekend finishing 2nd in the men’s K1 500 semi final.
“I was just happy to get another race under the belt and learn how to race again,” said Wallace.
Despite the sunny conditions, Wallace said the wind was always a challenge in Duisburg that athletes had to face.
“Duisburg is great, it is like a real closed, confined course I guess, and when it’s a windy day it can be pretty gnarly.”
“You start the race and it’s a head wind, you finish the race and it’s a cross wind, it’s a tail wind, it just swirls in amongst the oars so yeah it is pretty crazy like that.”
Australia will race in four A finals and 3 B finals on Saturday, with the men’s and women’s K4 crews and Alana Nicholls Australia’s best chances for a medal.
Saturday afternoon in Duisburg will see the heats and semi finals for the men’s and women’s K1 and K2 200 events commence where the likes of Stewart and Nicholls will be joined by Western Australian duo Steve Bird and Jesse Phillips as Olympic preparations hit full swing.
Saturday Schedule (Key Australian Times)
5:30pm (R75) WK1 500 B Final (Naomi Flood – Lane 7)
5:52pm (R77) MK1 1000 B Final (Ken Wallace – Lane 3)
6:13pm (R80) MC2 1000 B Final (Alex Haas/Jake Donaghey – Lane 8)
7:00pm (R84) WK1 500 A Final (Alana Nicholls – Lane 5)
7:11pm (R85) MK1 1000 A Final (Murray Stewart – Lane 2)
7:58pm (R89) WK4 500 A Final (Lovell/Davis/Brigden-Jones/Fogarty – Lane 4)
8:09pm (R90) MK4 1000 A Final (Smith/Smith/Stewart/Clear – Lane 8)
10:05pm (R92) WK2 500 Heat 2 (Naomi Flood/Lyndsie Fogarty – Lane 5)
10:30pm (R96) MK1 200 Heat 2 (Joel Simpson – Lane 9)
10:45pm (R99) MK1 200 Heat 5 (Murray Stewart – Lane 5)
11:00pm (R102) MC1 200 Heat 1 (Sebastian Marczak – Lane 5)
11:30pm (R108) WK1 200 Heat 3 (Hannah Davis – Lane 7)
11:40pm (R110) WK1 200 Heat 5 (Alana Nicholls – Lane 6)
11:55pm (R113) MK2 200 Heat 1 (David Smith/Ken Wallace – Lane 1)
12:10am (R116) MK2 200 Heat 4 (Jesse Phillips/Steve Bird – Lane 1)
12:20am (R118) MC2 200 Heat 5 (Alex Haas/Jake Donaghey – Lane 5)
12:30am (R 120) WK2 200 Heat 1 (Naomi Flood/Lyndsie Fogarty – Lane 5)
12:35am (R121) WK2 200 Heat 2 (Rachel Lovell/Jo Brigden-Jones – Lane 2)
(All times AUS EST, 8hrs ahead of Duisburg, Germany)
Semi Finals will commence from 1:00am AUS EST, Follow the link to the Official World Cup website for start lists and race times when available.
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