Australia’s Canoe Sprint Olympic Nominations out
Australia’s Olympic nominees for Canoe Sprint have been decided following an exciting finale to this year’s National Championships at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, with Murray Stewart and Alana Nicholls continuing their dominance, winning the Men’s and Women’s K1 200 national titles.
Twenty-five year old Murray Stewart capped off an outstanding past two weeks of racing by meeting the Olympic nomination criteria and winning the K1 200m national title, his fourth win.
Rivalling Stewart for the K1 200m crown, was Joel Simpson who got off to a great start powering out of the start gates into a strong cross head wind to lead by a foot at the half way mark, but Stewart stepped it up a gear, powering home to clinch the title in a time of 36.21, 0.51 seconds ahead of Simpson. Matt Urquhart took home the bronze medal coming in 0.10 seconds further back.
“It’s always such a close finish in a tough field but I’m glad I could together a good race,” said Stewart.
His coach Tim Jacobs said the possibility of four nominations puts Stewart in a good position to win Olympic gold.
“I sort of counted on two (nominations),” said Jacobs. “Four is a bonus. What’s good is that Murray can now pick and choose what he can do best.”
The win means that Australia now have seven male kayak athletes that have met the nomination criteria and earned the right to be nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for the London 2012 Olympic Games, following submission and approval of quota places by the International Canoe Federation (ICF) and subject to any appeals.
Stewart’s win blocked the path for Simpson and meaning that K2 200m National Champions Stephen Bird and Jesse Phillips, and 2008 Beijing Olympian Ken Wallace (K2 1000) have now officially earned the right for nomination avoiding the need for a further trial at the 2012 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg, Germany.
"It feels amazing,” said Bird. “It's going to take a while to sink in. It's just the end of a long push, so it will take a while because it always seemed so far away but it's here now.”
Alana Nicholls won the Women’s K1 200m national title with an emphatic victory, continuing her domination of the Women’s K1 events.
Nicholls finished in a time of 40.99, 0.77 seconds ahead of Hannah Davis and Jo Brigden-Jones.
"I came away with another win today so I think I've finally let myself get excited now," said Nicholls.
Davis and Brigden-Jones then combined to finish second behind New Zealand champions Lisa Carrington and Erin Taylor in the Women’s K2 200m final, with their time of 39.31 placing them comfortably a top the Australian standings, 2.23 seconds ahead of Allison Bryant and Dorina Obermayer.
Brodie Holmes and Brendon Sarson completed the Men’s K1 500m A final, with Holmes time of 1:42.48 clinching him his maiden K1 500m national title.
"It was a pretty good race, I think the 500m seems to hurt more than the 1000m and the 200m sometimes, but it was a good race," Holmes said afterwards.
"We're a tight bunch in WA and we've got a fantastic leader in Ramon Anderson and Michael Pond as well, we just seem to gel and get along really well. It makes training that little bit easier when you've got coaches that you really respect and a group of people you really like hanging out with."
The final senior event of the day saw the Olympic bound K4 500 crew Brigden-Jones, Davis, Rachel Lovell and Lyndsie Fogarty claim the K4 200 National title in 36.79.
By Infostrada Sport
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