The Kiwi women took 5th place in the K4W 500m final, well surpassing their Olympic expectations of simply making the A Final.
Kayla Imire, Jaimee Lovett, Caitlyn Ryan and Aimee Fisher represented NZ with all their hearts. But the competition could not have been tougher. Gold medal defenders Hungary, with three of the four medal winners racing again, dominated Germany in what ended as largely a two horse race.
It was a good start across the board, the field looking very even for the first 200m. NZ was right in amongst the action, coming third place at the 250m mark.
However, Hungary dominated all the way to the line, finishing in an Olympic Best time of 1:31.482sec followed by Germany (1:32.383sec). Steadily powered up towards the end, Belarus clocked 1:33.908sec, followed by Ukraine (1:34.214). The New Zealand Team were just not able to hold their position, finishing 5th (1:35.198).
With the win, Hungarian Danuta Kozak completed a 500m Gold Medal hat trick, winning the K1, K2 and now K4 500m Gold Medals and becoming the first woman to win three Gold Medals in a single Olympics. A historic performance.
After the race the girls stumbled out of the boat, exhausted, having left it all out on the water. They were happy with their performance against a highly experienced and awarded field – elated in the knowledge that it was a amazing result by a team at the beginning of their sporting careers.
Aimee Fisher, the youngest of the K4 crew, gave Sky Sport a real insight into what it was like on the water:
With 100 meters to go I thought of everyone back home, you know, I thought about Hawkes Bay and the kids there, and just gave it death for them. So I hope they can be proud of that, I know we certainly are.
The NZ Team has slogged it out over the last 18 months, training to their full capacity under coach Rene Olsen. Although they put a lot of work into their endurance, the women had fought hard to win their semifinal, which would have been tough to recover from.
We are so proud of the girls, who so clearly raced their hearts out. What a great end to their Olympic campaign and an enormously positive sign for the future of Canoe Sprint racing in New Zealand.
The NZ Sprint Canoe team including the K4 Women's crew (left to right): Caitlyn Ryan, Aimee Fisher, Marty McDowell, Lisa Carrington, Kayla Imirie and Jaimee Lovett
1 HUN Hungary 1:31.482
2 GER Germany 1:32.383
3 BLR Belarus 1:33.908
4 UKR Ukraine 1:34.214
5 NZL New Zealand 1:35.198
6 DEN Denmark 1:36.057
7 GBR Great Britain 1:37.043
8 CAN Canada 1:37.733
CRNZ Facebook page will have some great photos and info.
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.