World champ sta­tus for Caitlin Ryan

Rodney Times - - OUT & ABOUT -

‘‘...only in our wildest dreams did we ex­pect this kind of re­sult so soon.’’ Mark Weather­all

Red Beach surf life­guard Caitlin Ryan el­e­vated her­self to the ranks of world cham­pion with gold medal suc­cess in the Czech Re­pub­lic last week­end.

She was among Kiwi pad­dlers who have pro­duced New Zealand’s greatest medal haul from a ca­noe sprint world cham­pi­onship.

Com­pet­ing at the Kayak World Cham­pi­onships, she paired with fel­low Olympian Lisa Car­ring­ton to take out the K2 500m event, with their com­fort­able win tes­ti­fy­ing to the pad­dling power of this dy­na­mite duo.

Ryan and Car­ring­ton also col­lected bronze medals on the last day of the cham­pi­onships when they teamed up with Kayla Im­rie and Aimee Fisher for a very tight third plac­ing in the fi­nal of the K4 500m event.

Just 12 months ago, Ryan be­came Red Beach Surf Club’s tenth Olympian when she com­peted in the K4 event in Rio de Janeiro.

She be­came just the sec­ond fe­male from the club to com­pete at the Games. Erin Tay­lor com­peted at the Bei­jing Olympics in 2008 and at the Lon­don Olympics in 2012.

Car­ring­ton took the big­gest haul with an­other win in the K1 200 and sil­ver in the K1 500.

The vic­tory in Racice was her fifth con­sec­u­tive K1 200 world cham­pi­onship ti­tle, to go with two Olympic golds in the event. The K4 bronze was her 11th world champs medal in a stel­lar ca­reer, with seven gold, two sil­ver and two bronze.

Ca­noe Rac­ing NZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Weather­all said Car­ring­ton’s 10-race ef­fort over the cham­pi­onship would rank as one of New Zealand’s great sport­ing achieve­ments. He also paid trib­ute to re­tired K4 stal­wart Jaimee Lovett, for­mer na­tional women’s coach Rene Olsen and cur­rent coach Gor­don Walker for their ef­forts in help­ing launch a cul­ture of ex­cel­lence in the team boat ranks.

‘‘There have def­i­nitely been some hur­dles along the way and but to see those four black-clad pad­dlers on the podium at a world cham­pi­onship is im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing and a very proud mo­ment,’’ Weather­all said.

‘‘Three years ago, we set a plan in mo­tion to build a team boat ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing on the world stage, which would in turn ex­pand our sta­ble of pad­dlers, but only in our wildest dreams did we ex­pect this kind of re­sult so soon.’’

PHOTOSPORT

Lisa Car­ring­ton, left, and Caitlin Ryan af­ter win­ning the women’s K2 500m event at the ca­noe sprint world cham­pi­onships in Racice, Czech Re­pub­lic.

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