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Thompson makes semifinals at world champs in Hungary


There was joy for Poverty Bay’s Quaid Thompson in day two of the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Szeged, Hungary, as he navigated a successful route into the semifinals of the men’s K1 1000m.

The 21-year-old started his heat with intent and hit the halfway mark in third, 2.87 seconds down on race leader and 2016 Olympic silver medallist Josef Dostal of the Czech Republic.

Thompson slipped back in the second half of the race but crossed the line in fifth to comfortably secure a semifinal berth.

The Gisborne-based paddler stopped the clock in a personal-best time of 3:32.52 — 5.74 seconds down on Dostal, the heat winner.

The women’s K4 500m crew led a series of impressive performances by New Zealand athletes at the world championships.

Lining up in the third and final heat — which provided the climax to the second day of action — the crew of Lisa Carrington, Kayla Imrie, Aimee Fisher and Caitlin Ryan were chasing the top spot to secure an automatic place in Sunday’s A final and bypass the need for a semifinal.

Dominant from the first few strokes, the Kiwis gradually built on their early advantage and claimed a comprehensive win in 1:29.00 — finishing 2.62 clear of second place France with China third in 1:32.14.

Belarus were the fastest crew to advance to what is likely to prove a mouth-watering A final on Sunday night, winning heat one in 1:28.58.

Defending world champions Hungary — who pipped New Zealand to gold by just 0.01 of a second in a rip-roaring battle at the 2018 world championships — took out the second semifinal in 1:29.06.

The new Kiwi combination of Alicia Hoskin and Caitlin Ryan produced a fantastic display to advance to the A final of the women’s K2 500m.

Hoskin, 19, who was making her open world championship debut, was not fazed by the occasion, and competing alongside the experienced Ryan, who 12 months ago won a world championship silver in this event, the pair proved potent.

In the morning heats, New Zealand placed third in 1:42.40 behind heat winners Russia in 1:40.84, and chasing one of three automatic qualification spots for the A final in the afternoon semifinals, the pair delivered on their ambition.

Making an aggressive start, the Kiwi K2 boat held a marginal advantage in the early stage and reached the halfway checkpoint in third.

Over the final 250m, Hoskin and Ryan maintained their form and composure to bank that all-important third spot in 1:38.93 — 2.15 seconds behind the world-class Belarus crew of Maryna Litvinchuk and Volha Khudzenka, and Belgium (1:38.31). The final will take place on Saturday night, New Zealand time.

On day one, Scott Martlew impressed to win his semifinal in his speciality KL2 200m event and the Cantabrian also caught the eye on day two in his secondary event — the VL3 200m — to place second in the B final.

Earlier, in the first semifinal, the Christchurch athlete produced a gutsy paddle to take fifth in 51.00 — just two places and 0.28 of a second behind a spot in the A final.

Returning for the B final, Martlew unleashed a devastating late burst of speed but could not quite overhaul the Pole Tomasz Mozdzierski, missing out on the top spot by just 0.03 of a second in a time of 50.76.

Kiwi Pete Cowan placed eighth behind Martlew in 52.82 in that earlier semifinal and exited the competition.

On day three, which begins this evening, New Zealand time, Lisa Carrington returns to the water in the heats of the K1 500m and also takes her place in the semifinals of the K1 200m.

Max Brown (Whanganui) and Kurtis Imrie (Mana) make their open world championship debuts in the heats of the men’s K2 1000m, and Thompson competes in his semifinal of the men’s K1 1000m.

Canoeing elite: Quaid Thompson has made the semifinals of the men's K1 1000m at the 2019 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Szeged, Hungary. File picture