• All Black Women Paddlers Fire a Shot Across the Bows of Competitors

    Sailing is not the only code where New Zealand athletes shine. The set that relies on muscle, not wind power, for propulsion is also capable of showing others how it is done.

    In this case, Kiwi paddlers won four medals at the recent World cup in Szeged, Hungary. It was an all-women’s squad that seized control of the second World Cup of the season, just a week subsequent to an equally impressive haul of hardware in the first race event in Portugal.

    The Kiwi women paddlers took four medals in Portugal, all of them gold. Going against stronger competitors in Hungary, the Kiwis had to settle for two golds and two silvers.

    The leader of the group is two-time Olympian champion Lisa Carrington. In Hungary, she took two golds when she and her partner in paddling, Caitlin Ryan, won the pairs 500 m crown, and then got into a larger boat with Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie to win another 500 m race.

    The preceding day, Carrington won the silver in the K1 solo 500 m. Fisher took second in the 200 sprint.

    Carrington and Fisher, figuratively and literally, left their closest competitors in their way in the two-seat race. They had an almost two boat-length advantage over the Russian pair of Kira Stepanova and Elena Aniushina.

    Carrington was with Fisher for the win in Portugal, so it would appear that whoever gets in the boat with her is destined for golden glory.

    The eight Kiwi women on the trip is devoting itself to team, rather than individual, racing events, so the results have to be especially gratifying.

    Two up-and-coming New Zealanders, Imrie and Blair McLeely managed to finish fifth when they paddled together in their 200 m final.

    For the near term, it is back to home waters for the squad, where they will train for the World Championships in the Czech Republic in August.