Mana pad­dler grabs four gold


Kur­tis Im­rie was just 1.37secs from cre­at­ing his­tory at the New Zealand ca­noe rac­ing cham­pi­onships at Lake Kara­piro, with only an Olympian stop­ping him record­ing a unique tre­ble.

The 21-year-old pad­dler from Porirua’s Mana Kayak Rac­ing Club took home four gold medals at the meet, in­clud­ing rare wins in the K1 200m and 500m fi­nals.

The K1 1000m on Fe­bru­ary 19 was an in­trigu­ing show­down, with Im­rie push­ing Rio Olympian and Mana team­mate Marty McDow­ell all the way.

‘‘I was over the moon,’’ Im­rie said of his per­for­mance against McDow­ell.

‘‘I was hop­ing I could give him a bit of a push - he had too much class - but I was pretty stoked to be even that close to him, know­ing that he went to the Olympics.

Af­ter a de­cent post-Olympic break, McDow­ell, from Ti­tahi Bay, fin­ished in 3:37.05, with Im­rie clock­ing 3:38.42, well clear of Poverty Bay ri­val Quaid Thomp­son, who was third in 3:44.05.

Im­rie, the younger brother of Olympic K4 pad­dler Kayla, had ear­lier beaten Bay of Plenty’s Taris Harker in the 200m sprint de­cider.

Two days later he added the K1 500m ti­tle with a com­mand­ing 2.75sec mar­gin over Thomp­son, although Thomp­son had a mea­sure of re­venge at the end of a big week­end of rac­ing, cap­tur­ing the 5km crown with Im­rie fourth.

It’s been a long fight­back for Im­rie, af­ter con­tract­ing glan­du­lar fever two years ago, but things have im­proved markedly since join­ing the na­tional men’s pro­gramme in Auck­land in De­cem­ber un­der coach Fred Loyer.

‘‘The whole as­pect of train­ing has com­pletely changed mov­ing to Auck­land, learn­ing how to train prop­erly with your heartrate in a cer­tain zone and be­ing able to main­tain the hard stuff,’’ Im­rie said.

‘‘My prob­lem has al­ways been I’d ‘fly and die’ so I’m just work­ing on a race plan so that I’m evenly splitting through the race.’’

His other golds came in team boats, com­bin­ing with McDow­ell to win the K2 1000m fi­nal, and with McDow­ell, Ethan Moore and Glen Muir­head in the K4 1000m.

De­spite his sprint­ing suc­cess, the longer dis­tances are where he sees his fu­ture suc­cess.

‘‘I’m def­i­nitely tar­get­ing the 1000m at the un­der-23 world cham­pi­onships this year and it’s a pos­si­bil­ity to race the ICF World Cup se­ries.’’


Kur­tis Im­rie on his way to vic­tory in the men’s K1 200m fi­nal at Lake Kara­piro.

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