One Paralympic and three Olympic qualification positions have been claimed for Australia by performances featuring NSWIS athletes at the Canoe Sprint World Championships over the weekend.
NSWIS paddler, Dylan Littlehales (NSWIS) wrapped up a strong showing by the Australian paracanoe team, locking away Australia’s fourth quota spot when he finished fourth in the men’s KL3 200.
Littlehales was once again denied a podium by just a fraction of a second, this time finishing 0.09 of a second behind Brazil’s Caio de Carvalho.
“I’m happy with my performance. It wasn’t the result I was aiming for but you can’t control what everyone else does and I went out, had a great race, did a good time and just missed the podium but that’s a part of sport. Most importantly, I got the Paralympic quota spot to end a successful year,” Littlehales said.
“I believe myself and the rest of the paracanoe team on track for a successful Tokyo Paralympic campaign with twelve months to go and hope we can keep that going.”
Australian brothers-in-arms Jordan Wood and Riley Fitzsimmons (NSWIS) added their names to the men’s and women’s K4 qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 with a thrilling performance in the final of the K2 1000 at the ICF canoe sprint world championships in Szeged, Hungary.
Wood and Fitzsimmons pushed the best pairs in the world all the way to the finish, securing fifth position and qualification for another two athletes for next year’s Olympic Games.
In the Olympic events, Rio Olympians Riley Fitzsimmons (NSWIS) and Jordan Wood (QLD) were left emotionally and physically drained on Saturday after qualifying for the K2 final, but showed their strength and character with a gutsy 1000 that saw them threatening for the podium.
A 7th place finish for Jo Brigden-Jones (NSWIS) and the women’s K4 team ensured they’d also secured a spot for Australia in Tokyo.
“We have a lot of work to do. We’ll have sixth months now to get ourselves qualified for the team but it’s an exciting prospect to work towards,” Brigden-Jones said.
The men’s K4 of Rio bronze medallist Lachlan Tame (NSWIS), Tom Green (QLD), Jackson Collins (QLD) and Matt Goble (SA) bounced back from the disappointment of missing the final by winning the B final, safe in the knowledge they had also locked up an Olympic quota the previous evening.
“We wanted to make a statement to ourselves,” Tame said.
“We didn’t execute perfectly, we were in the fight yesterday, and that’s where we had to improve on from our world cups. We’d made up a good bit of ground on the rest of the world, but then just didn’t do the right things, it was a pretty bad feeling.
“But to come out this morning and do that, it’s nothing amazing, but we’re tenth in the world, and we’ve built something pretty cool in the last eight weeks. We’re a bunch of misfits really.”
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Tokyo 2020 here we come 🇦🇺🙌 B-final win for our men’s K4 500 with @loccytame @tom.green99 @jacksonjoelcollins @mattg_89_ !! Quota spot was already locked in yesterday, but what a great way to wrap it all up at worlds 🙌🇦🇺💚💛 . . . #icfsprint #canoesprint #paddletotokyo #tokyo2020 #auspaddleteam #kayaking #kayakers #goaus #TeamAus 🎥 thanks to @planetcanoe
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