4 Jun 2016

Kiwi paddlers make World Cup finals

10:02 am on 4 June 2016

New Zealand kayakers Lisa Carrington and Marty McDowell have made ideal starts to the final canoe sprint World Cup round before the Rio Olympics.

New Zealand canoe sprint champion Lisa Carrington.

New Zealand canoe sprint champion Lisa Carrington. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Carrington blitzed her K1 200m heat in Portugal to go straight through to tonight's final, winning her heat in 42.616secs.

She was more than two seconds clear of second-placed Joana Vasconcelos, although it was the manner of her race which was most satisfying.

"She got off to a brilliant start and was really happy with her race," coach Gordon Walker said. "We've been working on a few things in the last two weeks and they came together nicely."

Polish rivals Marta Walczykiewicz and Ewelina Wojnarowska won their heats to join Carrington in the final, clocking 43.048secs and 44.664secs respectively.

Carrington, the 2012 Olympic and reigning world champion, will be chasing her 13th consecutive major title over the distance tonight, before racing K1 500m heats later in the day.

McDowell, meanwhile, has overcome a frustrating European trip hampered by illness by making the K1 1000m final tonight.

The Wellington paddler finished third in his semifinal, clocking 3mins 57.996sec, to get the chance to test himself against some of the world's best.

Czech Republic's Josef Dostal and Portugal's Fernando Pimento, who were silver and bronze medalists at last year's world championships, will join Canadian Adam van Koeverden and Australian Jacob Clear in the final.

It's just the third time McDowell has made a World Cup K1 1000m final, after also qualifying in Portugal and Copenhagen last season.

"He's still not fully fit but he's feeling much better and he's delighted to be racing the A final," Walker said. "The important thing was that he raced smart today - he marshaled his energy well and did what he had to do to progress."