Paracanoeist Scott Martlew led the Kiwi challenge with pride on day one of the ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Cup in Poznan by impressively advancing to two A finals on Lake Malta.
Elsewhere, double Olympic K1 200m champion Lisa Carrington also caught the eye to qualify quickest from the heats of her speciality event and the combination of Caitlin Ryan and Aimee Fisher also sealed their place in the K2 500m semi-finals with a quality paddle.
Scott Martlew made the perfect start to the New Zealand World Cup quest by powering to an emphatic win in his heat of the men’s KL2 200m on a windy and chilly opening morning of competition.
The Christchurch paddler recorded a time of 42.349 to head the qualifiers for Saturday’s final and finish comfortably clear of Italy’s second-placed Federico Mancarella (43.097).
Martlew, the 2018 World Championship silver medallist, looked in supreme form in his opening heat and will go into the A Final on Saturday in confident mood.
The second fastest qualifier for the A Final was Austria’s Paralympic silver medallist Markus Swoboda (43.028).
Martlew later navigated a successful route through to the final of the VL3 200m by placing third (51.944) in the semi-final behind the French duo of Eddie Potdevin (50.508) and Patrick Viriamu (51.528).
Earlier, the Kiwi had placed second in his heat in 52.407 behind Russian Egor Firsov (51.775). The VL3 200m A Final takes place at 10.20pm tonight.
His fellow Kiwi Peter Cowan produced a solid paddle to place fifth (53.292) behind Martlew in the second-semi to qualify for the B Final later today at 10.15pm. Earlier, Cowan had finished fifth in his heat in a time of 53.248.
Martlew was delighted with his day’s work and added: “The KL2 race went really well today. I managed to qualify fastest and I’ve gone straight to the A final. The conditions were challenging with a strong tailwind and I’m looking forward to leaving it all out there on Saturday (in the A Final).”
The paracanoe star was also pleased with his display in the VL3 200m event.
“I’m stoked to make the A final considering it is a new boat,” he says.
“I’m just trying to get used to the steering to keep the boat straight and to go as fast as possible. I’m looking forward to ripping it down the course.”
In the afternoon session, Carrington produced an assured display to top the qualifiers from the heats and cruise into the K1 200m semi-finals. The six-time world champion for the event took out first spot in heat two, recording a time of 41.337 to finish ahead of Poland’s Olympic silver medallist Marta Walczykiewicz (41.613), who was paddling on home water.
Carrington’s team-mate and training partner Kayla Imrie also secured a place in the K1 200m semi-finals by placing fourth in heat one registering 43.432. China’s Mengdie Yin took out top spot in 42.264.
Other Kiwis to secure a place in the semi-finals were Caitlin Ryan and Aimee Fisher, who successfully advanced from the heats of the K2 500m.
The pair held a sizeable lead at halfway before the French crew of Manon Hostens and Sarah Guyot pipped them to the heat win by just 0.12 as the New Zealand crew recorded 1:43.054.
In heat four the young Kiwi crew of Alicia Hoskin and Danielle Watson placed fifth to progress to the semi-finals in a time of 1:48.859. The Belgian duo of Hermien Peters and Lize Broekx were the fastest qualifiers recording 1:42.215.
Day two can be followed on canoeicf.com from 7pm NZ time later today.