Jo Brigden-Jones & Naomi Flood
Photograph:Balint Vekassy (ICF)
The ICF canoe sprint World Championships came to a close overnight following five days of racing in Moscow.
Unfortunately Australia was unable to add to their medal haul of 5 (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze) on the final day.
After a simply heroic display of paddling on Saturday winning two medals, Ken Wallace proved he was human finishing ninth in the men’s K1 500 A final.
In the same event he won gold in at the Beijing Olympic Games Wallace said he simply ran out of energy having paddled 9km prior to the final.
“That was a very tough 500 metre final. I woke up this morning feeling as though I had the speed there but I just didn’t have the legs,” Wallace said.
“At the start of the race I got out pretty well but as soon as the running speed came into it I just didn’t have the power there. I think yesterday may have taken a bit more out of me than I thought.”
NSWIS pair Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood fought off a head wind and racing from an outside lane to finish a respectable seventh in the women’s K2 500 A final.
They recorded a time of 1:42.887 to finish 2.952 seconds behind Hungarian pairing Gabriella Szabo and Tamara Csipes who won the gold in 1:39.935.
“We raced really well the whole regatta so to finish on that note as our best race I am stoked with that,” Flood said.
With Rio just two years away the selection process for the 2016 Olympic Games will commence next year and the Australian pairing are excited about their potential for improvement.
“We are very excited about it, we are a fresh crew as we have only had a couple of months training together so we are already talking a little bit about next year and it gets exciting so see that there is so many areas of improvement for us,” Brigden-Jones said.
They have already identified one key area for improvement.
“We had a great start and finish but that middle just shows that we need a bit more work so I guess that will turn into our strategy over the next 12 months to really to build that middle section of our race to match the other crews,” Brigden-Jones said.
Brigden-Jones also featured in the K1 200 B final finishing sixth in a time of 40.845.
The Olympic gold medal K4 1000 crew of Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear reverted back to their regular seats to win the B final in 2:52.442.
After overcoming the disappointment of missing out on an A final berth for the first time the Australian’s showed tremendous determination to record a world class time.
“To back up after the race that we had and to produce one of the fastest times we have done in those conditions in flat a 52 we are pretty happy with that,” Tate Smith said.
“It is a good way to finish and we still got tenth in the world so it is nothing to be ashamed of but the standards we set ourselves to win and then to not make the final it is very disappointing.”
Stewart feels that he and his teammates have learned from their mistakes and has a positive outlook looking ahead to next year.
“It was hard to pick ourselves up but we definitely learned from the mistakes we made and went back to our original combination,” Stewart said.
“I think we will be right back in it next year, we actually had a really good season and we had a World Cup win which was a first for us following a really good preparation in Szolnok.”
Western Australia Alana Nicholls put aside an injury riddled 2014 to finish 10th in the women’s K1 500 event after winning her B final.
Her time of 1:52.935 would have placed her seventh in the A final.
Nicholls has noticed that the top girls are now going faster over the first 250 metres and changed her race plan in the final.
“For me today I just wanted to go out and execute my race plan. I tried a few different things as I thought it was a good opportunity as I am at full taper just to see what would happen and things worked out pretty well for me,” Nicholls said.
“I was really looking for that finish line in the last 50 metres but I put everything into it and I am happy to come away with the win.”
Fellow Western Australian’s Steve Bird and Jesse Phillips set a new PB to finish fourth in the K2 200 B final.
The London Olympic pairing finished half a second behind Spanish pair Carlos Arevalo and Cristian Toro who recorded the fastest time of 31.225.
“I cannot ask for more than that really, a nice 0.3 PB so if you were to give me that two weeks ago I would have grabbed that with a lot of encouragement,” Bird said.
The boys were proud of their performance and are excited about the potential for improvement heading into next year.
“If things keep progressing the way they are it is going to be a real hard fight like it was this time, but we believe in our prospects and we believe we can go better than we are going at the moment”, Phillips said.
Future prospects Jordan Wood (19) and Michael Booth (23) demonstrated their enormous potential finishing second in the K2 500 B final.
The Australian crew took it out hard and fast in the first 250 metres to lead the field but run out of gas with 100 metres to go.
Wood thought ‘it was a great race.’
“That B Final was a killer, in the heat and semi we had not been getting out too good and we just knew we really had to put it out there and just hope we hold on,” Wood said.
Booth said that he and Wood have gone from strength to strength in the latter part of the year.
‘I think we improved by ten seconds from our first time trial a few weeks ago which is obviously a huge improvement. We are just taking each step as it comes,” Booth said.
The Currumbin Creek paddler paid tribute to the impact Coach Anders Gustafsson has had on him this season.
“Anders has been really good for me this year sitting in the team boats and basically gave me that opportunity to learn and adapt to different people and it has been a really good year for me,”
The men’s and women’s K1 200 relays concluded the event with the Australian teams eliminated in the heats.