Nominations out for March ICF Athlete of the Month
Olympic Qualifiers by nature are hot beds for dreams. Many dreams broken, some rekindled and few achieved . Murray Stewart emerged as the star of the Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships in Penrith, Australia, his Olympic qualifier campaign ended successfully at the Australian National Championships with nominations in four events.
Across continents at the Pan American Canoe Slalom Championships in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Ana Sátila exceeded all expectations and outperformed her more experienced challengers by not only qualifying a Women’s K1 place for Brazil at the Olympic Games but also winning gold in the Women’s C1 event. At 15-years old she became the youngest slalom athlete to qualify for London 2012.
Based on strong performances at the 2012 Oceania Canoe Sprint Championships and the 2012 Pan American Canoe Slalom Championships the following paddlers have been nominated for the ICF March Athlete of the Month:
Lisa Carrington (NZL) – Last year Carrington became the first New Zealand woman to claim a kayaking world championship medal. This year the current Women’s K1 200m world champion has continued her hot streak of form by winning the K1 200m and coming in 2nd place in the K1 500m event at the Oceania Championships in Pentrith. At the Australian National Championships she combined with teammate Erin Taylor to win the Women’s K2 500m final. She also took 2nd place in the the 200m and 500m events.
Alex Haas and Jake Donaghey (AUS) –The 17 year old paddlers were the first male sprint athletes to secure Olympic nomination at the Oceania Championships. The duo led their race from start to finish, winning the C2 1000m final in an impressive manner. Following back to back trial victories they were nominated for Olympic selection.They are the youngest Canoe Sprint paddlers to win Australian Olympic nomination
Eric Hurd and Jeff Larimer (USA) – It was in the closing moments of the Pan American Championships that the once remote possibility of the US Men’s C1 and C2 paddlers qualifying for a spot in London became a reality. The US men needed to win both the C1 and C2 events in order to secure the two remaining slots. Hurd and Larimer accomplished just that when they won the C2 gold medal and a boat quota for the US at the Olympic Games. Benn Fraker’s (USA) win in the C1 event ensured that the US will be represented in both the C1 and C2 categories in London.
Alana Nicholls (AUS) – After the disappointment of not qualifying for the Beijing Games, Nicholls put herself in pole position this time around by securing Australia’s first sprint nomination for London in the K1 200m. Having come in 2nd place at the Oceania Championships (behind Carrington in the 200m), the 25-year old won the K1 500m event and had emphatic victories at the Australian National Championships, beating Carrington in the Women’s K1 500m final. Nicholls hopes to compete in both the 200m and 500m event in London.
Ana Sátila (BRA) – The 15-year old Sátila was the true star of the Pan American Championships. She won two gold medals, the first in the Olympic category of Women’s K1 and the second in Women’s C1. The youngster who left her home town earlier in the year with her mother and sister to live in a hotel near Foz do Iguaçu (the whitewater venue), returned to her hometown of Primavera do Leste, where she was welcomed with a parade in her honour. Now a celebrity in Brazil, she hopes to bring more recognition to the sport and make her country proud at the Olympic Games.
Murray Stewart (AUS) – At the Oceania Championships in Penrith the Australian won the K1 1000m, beating Beijing Olympic champion Ken Wallace who came in third place. Stewart then won the K2 1000m event with Wallace and the the K4 1000m event with Jacob Clear, Tate Smith and David Smith. At the Australia’s National Championships he won the same events as well as the K1 200m national title, completing a streak of four titles.
The ICF Athlete of the Month initiative was launched in 2009 and is designed to recognize the outstanding performances of paddlers from all over the world.