Olympic champion Lisa Carrington will headline a small New Zealand flatwater kayaking team at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, with the country sending a women’s K4 squad for the first time.
The 26-year-old Carrington, who won the K1 200m gold in London, has also been selected in the K1 500m event, having won both races at last year’s world championships in Milan — just the third woman to achieve the feat.
Carrington is one of New Zealand’s top picks for gold in Rio, having been unbeaten in the K1 200m for five years.
The selection of the K4 500m boat of Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie was especially pleasing for Canoe Racing New Zealand (CRNZ), given the crew had only been together for less than 18 months.
“We’re delighted to see the investment in our women’s program paying off and our athletes getting the chance to show what they’re capable of at the highest level,” CRNZ chief executive Mark Weatherall said. “New Zealand has a proud Olympic kayaking history and we’re excited to see that continue.”
It is the first time New Zealand has sent a K4 crew to the Olympics since Barcelona in 1992 when a men’s team made the semi-finals.
New Zealand’s K4 1,000m men’s team won gold in Los Angeles in 1984, when the kayaking team also won three other gold medals, with Ian Ferguson winning three.
Marty McDowell is the sole male competitor selected for Rio, in the men’s K1 1,000m. It will be his first Olympics.
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