Imrie on the comeback trail
Kurtis Imrie was knocked down in 2015, but he’s getting up again.
The Mana Kayak Racing Club member is preparing for the New Zealand canoe sprint championships on Lake Karapiro on February 26.
He’s training three days a week on Porirua Harbour, in between studying and working as an electrical apprentice.
It’s a busy time for the 20-yearold, but it’s a relief for him to finally be back on the water.
Imrie contracted glandular fever not long after returning from the under-23 world championships in Hungary last year.
‘‘I was completely laid out for five months from the end of July,’’ he said.
Imrie said he couldn’t train and had no energy.
‘‘I’m only just back into training properly now.
‘‘Mentally I’m ready, but it’s how the body holds up at nationals that’s the question.
‘‘I might just be looking at the K1 200-metres – I don’t think I’m up to [his favoured] 1000m yet.’’
For the New Zealand under-23 K1 1000m champion, under-23 K1 200m silver medallist, and open men’s K2 1000m champion, it was a frustrating time.
He turned his hand to coaching, but said he never lost his focus on what he wanted to achieve in kayaking.
Imrie, a member of the national talent development programme, is aiming to make the K1 1000m final at the under-23 worlds in Belarus in August, get at least to the B final in the open division, and, ultimately, represent New Zealand at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
His older sister, Kayla, recently qualified in the K4 500m for the Rio Olympics and he said his desire to follow her and pull on the black singlet in Tokyo had ramped up a notch.
He has loved kayaking since his early teens, jumping into the sport via surf lifesaving and surf ski competitions for Paekakariki. He enjoys training on Porirua Harbour, but not so much on the choppy days.
‘‘I love the kayaking environment and keeping fit and there are great people in this sport.’’
Mana Kayak Racing Club’s Kurtis Imrie has tempered his ambitions for the canoe sprint champs later this month, but will still be one to watch.