Porirua pad­dler head­ing to Rio

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

Marty McDow­ell has weath­ered ups and downs dur­ing his kayak­ing ca­reer, but as the con­fetti rained down last week he al­lowed him­self a smile.

The 29-year-old Mana Kayak Rac­ing Club K1 1000m pad­dler did enough at the re­cent Ocea­nia ca­noe sprint cham­pi­onships in Ade­laide to se­cure his place in the six-strong New Zealand lineup that will travel to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The team, an­nounced in Auck­land last Thurs­day, will be spear­headed by Olympic cham­pion Lisa Car­ring­ton. The Mana club will be well-rep­re­sented in Rio, with Kayla Im­rie a mem­ber of the K4 500m crew.

McDow­ell said there was more relief than joy when he found out two weeks ago he’d made it.

‘‘I had to keep it un­der wraps, apart from telling Mum and Dad,’’ he said. ‘‘I was never 100 per cent sure I was there [in the team] even though my re­sults have been good in the last year.

‘‘I’ve had ups and downs in my ca­reer, but I got back on track again about four years ago, so to get to this point is pretty ex­cit­ing.’’

At the Olympics, McDow­ell said his first goal would be mak­ing the fi­nal. If he did that, any­thing could hap­pen.

‘‘It will be tough – this is the com­pe­ti­tion that ev­ery­one wants to win, far more than any world cup event.’’

He said he had heard con­di­tions in Rio could suit the New Zealand pad­dlers, be­cause it was coastal and windy.

‘‘It might be good for us be­cause on Porirua Har­bour, and in Auck­land, you get a lot of side wind.’’

Rio is the cul­mi­na­tion of hard work since McDow­ell se­ri­ously started flat wa­ter rac­ing at the end of his col­lege days.

The sup­port from fam­ily and peo­ple in Porirua made the an­nounce­ment last week ex­tra spe­cial, he said.

McDow­ell and Car­ring­ton share the same coach, Gor­don Walker, and McDow­ell said he drew in­spi­ra­tion from Car­ring­ton’s suc­cess and class.

Be­fore the Olympics in early Au­gust, McDow­ell will at­tend re­gat­tas in Europe to help pre­pare for the big­gest races of his life.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Marty McDow­ell at the an­nounce­ment of the New Zealand Olympic ca­noe sprint team in Auck­land last week.

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