Following a stunning Australian record-breaking silver medal at the Canoe Sprint World Cup in Szeged, Hungary (20 May 2018), the women’s K4 500m of Rio Olympians Alyce Burnett (QLD), Alyssa Bull (QLD), London Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW) and Jaime Roberts (WA) have been selected to represent Australia at the 2018 ICF Sprint World Championships in Montemor o Velho, Portugal from 23-26 August 2018.
The K4 spearheads a strong Australian women’s team that also includes South Australians Cat McArthur and Josephine Bulmer. Cat McArthur won her first Senior international medal at the ICF Sprint World Cup in Duisburg (26 May) in the K1 1000m, while 21-year old Josie Bulmer made her first ever Senior final in C1 200 with the boat class to premier at the Olympic program in Tokyo 2020.
The Australian sprint men’s team will see dual Olympian and London 2012 gold medallist Murray Stewart (NSW), Rio Olympians Jordan Wood (QLD) and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW), returning Olympian Steve Bird (WA) as well as 18-year old new-comer Tom Green contest the Sprint World Championships.
The 2018 Sprint team selection followed a strong Australian performance at the 2018 ICF Sprint World Cups 1 and 2 in Szeged, Hungary (18-20 May 2018) and Duisburg, Germany (25-27 May 2018) over the last couple of weeks.
The Australian women’s K4 500 crew only came together just over two months ago and surprised themselves with a stunning silver medal at the ICF World Cup in Szeged, Hungary. In the process they also set the fastest ever time for an Australian women’s K4 500 crew (1:30.472).
Alyce Burnett, Alyssa Bull and Jaime Roberts all paddled together in 2017, and for this year’s World Cup season they added experienced Olympian Jo Brigden-Jones with the team adding a fifth place at the World Cup in Duisburg.
“We’ve been focussing on the K4 this World Cup season and it has paid off. We decided after nationals to give the K4 a red hot crack, but to be honest it first didn’t gel as well together quite the way we expected and we had to go right back to the basics, but we couldn’t be happier how it all penned out. To come away with a silver in Szeged was more than we expected and the 1:30 topped it off,” Alyce Burnett said.
“We are still a new crew and still have things to work on, but we proved to ourselves that we have the ability and it’s a great building block for next year (Olympic qualification) and then hopefully the year after (Tokyo 2020). We want to qualify the K4 for Tokyo and to be part of that would be awesome,“ Burnett added about the confidence boosting World Cups.
Brigden-Jones, who was a member of the 2011 crew that set the previous fastest time for an Australian K4, said the World Cup results were a great start for the new crew. “The boat feels really good,” she said. “We were kind of struggling when we first got in the boat, but we knew we just had to break it down to build it back up again. The race we did in Szeged was the fastest time we’ve ever done in an Australian K4 team. It’s been awesome to paddle with the girls. I have been around for a long time (15 yrs) and I have been wondering these last few years if I have got another good international performance in me. But to come to the World Cups and step it up with these girls and to have a good building block is really exciting.”
Final boat classes for the World Championships will yet be decided for the women’s kayaking squad, who are coached by dual Olympic medallist Anna Wood and are back in Australia for a training block at the Gold Coast. The team will head back over to Europe mid-July which will mark two years to go until the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
And Tokyo 2020 is what it’s all about Alyce Burnett explains, “as the female Australian team, our main goal collectively is to have the best possible result come Tokyo 2020. If that means we are needed in one boat or three boats. And personally, I rather do one boat really well than two boats medium well. At this point in time, we don’t know what boats we will finally be racing in and that’s why we were trialling a few things at the World Cups and testing the waters. But a lot of things can still change over the two years until Tokyo 2020.”
Men’s Sprint Team
Jordan Wood (QLD)
Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)
Murray Stewart (NSW)
Steve Bird (WA)
Tom Green (QLD)
Women’s Sprint Team
Alyce Burnett (QLD)
Alyssa Bull (QLD)
Jaime Roberts (WA)
Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW)
Cat McArthur (SA)
Josephine Bulmer (SA)
Follow the team
Article published by Paddle Australia