The paracanoe program has concluded at the 2013 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg, Germany.
Is was an event of records for the paracanoe athletes with times being smashed on the water and the largest number of competitors ever assembled off for these World Championships.
The sport’s rapid-rise can be attributed to the excitement that was created when paracanoe was announced that it will be making its debut at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Australia were unable to add to the heroics of Queensland Academy of sport paddler Kara Kennedy who won silver in the women’s arms only V1 200 final on Wednesday.
Two Australian athletes featured on the final day, Western Australian Brock Ingram and New South Welshman Colin Sieders.
The two athletes are at different stages of their careers with Ingram now considered a leader of the team alongside Glenn Pyne and Kennedy, each of whom have now competed at multiple World Championships.
Ingram acknowledged the giant leap the sport has taken in the past 12 months.
“World records been broken, there is a new world champion, I think the times have dropped three seconds in a year so that’s two years in a row that has happened, the boats are going forward, you just can’t stop the movement”, he said.
The 2011 Australian paracanoeist finished fifth in the men’s leg, trunk and arms (LTA) K1 200 final.
His time of 40.38 would have been good enough for gold in any other year.
German Tom Kierey smashed the world record by three seconds to win the gold in 38.89, 0.71 seconds ahead of Romania’s Iulian Serban, with Ukraine’s Yuriy Kikhayev finishing third.
“It was just amazing out there, had a bit of a following wind but either way I will take it, it is a PB for training, competition, everything.”
Ingram will shortly return to Australia and take a break before getting back into training.
Asked what he needs to work on the most he responded, “The back end of my race because I am up there at the starts, it is just the back end that has let me down a little bit. As you get older your endurance is meant to get better so hopefully that backs me up.”
In the other final of the day Sieders finished seventh in the men’s A K1 200 final.
Today marked exactly a year since he began paddling and he is already has the hunger to return fitter and stronger next year.
“I would have liked to have gone a little bit better but it is my first championships so I am happy with that”, he said.
“I have got to lose a bit more weight, build a bit of strength and work on technique and I am sure I will be up the front next year.”
Earlier in the event 25 year old Amanda Drennan also enjoyed the experience of competing at her first World Championships finishing eighth in the women’s LTA K1 200 final.
The Victorian was competing in just her eighth professional race since making the transition from swimmer to kayaker and will only improve in the future.
“I need to personally get a lot more fit and I mean that is the eighth time that I have raced so I need to get a lot more race practice as well. So hopefully the more I race the more I will improve”, she said.
National Performance Director Richard Fox said, “Australian Canoeing is proud of its team of five athletes and three staff for their efforts and performances throughout the world championships, which saw Australia win its first silver medal through Kara Kennedy in the women's V1 200m A category and all athletes reach finals and improve on their personal bests.”
“Our experience these past three days in Duisburg tells us that Paracanoeing is accelerating fast right across the discipline with faster times, closer races, improved technique and a more professional high performance approach. The good news is that thanks to the investment of the Australian Government through the AIS and Australian Paralympic Committee we are keeping in touch and are competitive with room to improve and close the gap, considering this was the first worlds for two of our finalists.”
“The Winning Edge support has enabled us to fund full time coaching, international travel, a pre Worlds camp at the European Training Centre, sports science support and new equipment. As soon as we are back on deck in Australia we look forward to working closely with the APC and AIS to debrief from the worlds and refine our Rio strategy as well as the long term Para Pathway. Key focus areas will be enhanced support in the daily training environment for the Rio pool of athletes with individualised athlete performance plans, support for competition in Australia and overseas and a boost in sports science support, particularly in areas of strength and conditioning and nutrition.”
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