Im­rie on the come­back trail

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

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.’’

PHOTO: JAMIE TROUGHTON/DSCRIBE

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.

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