Paul Dimmock reviews the recent international sprint events

Wey Kayak Club looks as strong as ever with new athletes rubbing shoulders with our more experienced paddlers as they take on the world’s best at World Cup 1&2 in Szeged and Duisburg respectively.

Chris Carson and Andras Kovacs were the two youngest paddlers in Team GB at the world Cups (they may have been the youngest competitors at both events) racing the k2 500m. It is without doubt a daunting prospect for two young athletes stepping into the cauldron of sprint racing in Szeged where sprint racing is a major sport and passions run high both on and off the water. Un-phased, Chris and Andras raced like pros from heat to semi to final getting faster and faster, indeed every time they raced they put in a Personal Best – no easy task and a real credit to their commitment, their results being:

Szeged Heat – 1.37.764, Semi – 1.35.730, B Final (8th) 1.35.526

Duisburg – Best Time Heat 1.35.244

Of course the two youngsters were there at both events with Wey’s Liam Heath and Rachel Cawthorn. Liam,  Olympic, World and European Champion (k1 200m) who was competing in the k4 500m. The racing was brutally hard and although leading the first quarter of the race Liam’s boat (Schofield, Fletcher, Robinson) slipped from top three at 250m to finish 9th in the B final, time 1.22.382. In Duisburg they achieved 6th B Final so already shoots of improvement sprouting in this highly explosive boat. This is a new boat trying a new strategy and the world cups act as a great opportunity to try new tactics so come the world Championships in August the marginal gains needed to be spear heading the final are in place. Rachel Cawthorn appeared in two different races, in Szeged she raced the k1 200m achieving 8th, B Final in 41.109 and in Duisburg raced k4 500m, 7th A Final (Kerr, Lewis, Brown, Cawthorn) 1.36.225.

Both Rachel and Liam have now qualified for the world Championships, so the hard work begins to try and convert that potential into Medals in Portugal at the World Championships.

There were of course some great performances from the GB Team as a whole including Lizzie Broughton (Richmond CC) taking an impressive win in the k1 1,000m Duisburg, and Katie Read Women’s C1 200m, 9th A Final, and the Gold and Silver in VL2 Women’s 200m respectively, Emma Wiggs and Jeanette Chippington.