Lisa Carrington has the opportunity to become the first NZ female athlete to win double Gold at the Rio Olympics. If successful she will join only Olympic legends Sir Peter Snell and Ian Ferguson – and childhood hero Danyon Loader.
But it won’t be easy. The quick turnaround between heats and semi-finals today will test the fitness of the athletes, especially those who raced in the Finals yesterday.
The A Final race for the medals is scheduled for 01.11am Thursday NZT. No doubt the Nation will be literally up for that.
Lisa Carrington was exhausted after winning the K1W 500m Final at World Cup 3 in Montemor earlier this year.
The 500m distance is more complex than the straight sprint 200m distance. The trick is to stay calm, stick to your race plan and not be lulled by other athletes. Have a quick start, get up to speed, cruise the middle – then power through the last 200m.
Lisa has said that 300m would be her ideal length. She powers through the pain by counting down the strokes until the finish line, from 50 to 1.
She'll be racing the same Nelo K1 Cinco which she won the K1 200m Gold Medal with last night.
Lisa Carrington will race in Heat 1 of the K1 Women 500m, scheduled to start at 00.58 NZT, in Lane 5.
The draw is favourable for Lisa: her main competition in the heat is Rachel Cawthorn of Great Britain and Teresa Portella of Portugal. She only has to finish 6th or better to qualify for the Semifinals, so expect her to hold a bit back for the more important race that starts at 02:17am NZT.
2 DEN JORGENSEN Emma
3 KAZ ANANCHENKO Zoya
4 GBR CAWTHORN Rachel
5 NZL CARRINGTON Lisa
6 POR PORTELA Teresa
7 CUB MENGANA Yusmari
8 TUN EN ISMAIL Afef
It is an extremely fast turn around between the heats and the semifinals, with the first of 3 Semifinals raced under 80 minutes later.
Carrington places second in K1W 500m at ICF World Cup 1 in Duisburg, 2016
Carrington’s #1 threat is Danuta Kozák of Hungary. Kozák won Olympic Gold in the K2 500m last night, with Gabriella Szabo, so confidence will be high. Kozák defeated Carrington by 1.125 secs in the World Cup 1, Duisburg earlier this year. Watch the video of that race here.
In 2015, Kozák was busy helping Hungary win world championship gold in the K2 and silver in the K4 in Milan, and did not compete in the K1 500m that year. This left Carrington uncontested, which in part resulted in Lisa’s history-making 200m-500m K1 double win.
Also racing in the 500m division is Inna Osipenko-Rodomska of Azerbajan, who won the Bronze medal last night in the K1W200m. The Azerbajan athlete placed third the ICF World Champs earlier this year and has been looking very determined and focussed in recent days. She will race in Heat 4.
Canadian Emilie Fournel, Spela Janic of Slovenia and Ewelina Wojnarowska of Poland are also in contention.
HEATS: 4 races. 6th or better: progress to Semifinals, rest out (1 competitor per heat).
SEMIFINALS: 3 races.1st and 2nd from each Semifinal, plus two fastest 3rds go to A Final. 8th to 16th fastest: B final. Rest out.
After a contentious Men’s K1 1000m A Final yesterday, which saw Olympic newbie Marcus Walz of Spain take the Gold, both Max Hoff and Rene Holten Polsen report they ran into weed and debris on the course. Both men finished well back in the field.
Although the kayak rudders have special blades to cut through the weed, the effect is like slamming on the brakes. The reports are worrying – although water weed is not as bad as a sofa or worse.
In Lisa Carrington’s K1W 200m Semifinal, a competitor fished a pile of weed from their lane only moments before the race started. Hopefully the course will be well groomed this morning to ensure smooth racing.
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.