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Solid performances on first day of ICF World Cup 1 in Poznan

Reigning Olympic Champion Liam Heath was back in K1 action today at the first international canoe sprint event of the season, in Poznan, Poland.

The British paracanoe team were also back on the water after a successful campaign at the European Championships which only concluded yesterday.

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Having taken a season away from the event last year, it looked like Heath had never been away as he delivered a powerful performance during the heats to take top spot and progress through to the men’s K1 200m semi-finals on Saturday.

He will be joined by his former K2 partner Jon Schofield, who too was in fine form to win his heat comfortably.  The pair won their heats in 35.391 and 35.831 respectively.

Katie Reid and Afton Fitzhenry both qualified for the semi-finals of the C1W 200m, after finishing fifth in their respective heats. Katie will compete in the first of Saturday’s semi finals at 9.35am (local time) with Afton Fitzhenry back on at 9.40am.

Tom Lusty has also booked his spot in the next round of the K1 1000m event. Having finished second in his heat in 3:36.653, he goes again tomorrow morning at 9.32am.

Charlie Smith went in a later heat but he misses a semi-final spot after crossing the line in eighth place.

Trevor Thomson and Stelian Naftanaila fired out of the start bucket to win their K2 200m heat, holding form to cross the line ahead of the chasing field in 32.991, a performance which gains them automatic selection to Sunday’s final.

Meanwhile Emily Lewis and Jess Walker battled some tricky conditions in the K1W 200m and Lewis will be back in the K4 500m heats tomorrow afternoon.

Fresh from the European Championships only a day before, the paracanoe team embarked on their first day of the World Cup 1.

2018 World Champion Charlotte Henshaw and 2016 Paralympic Champion Emma Wiggs continued to dominate the women’s KL2 event after a 1-2 in the European Championships 24 hours earlier. Charlotte charged into an early lead in heat 1 and maintained an excellent pace to finish with a time of 48.928. Emma also won her heat convincingly, finishing with a time of 53.63 and over two seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Both progress through to Friday’s final.

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Both taking on their first World Cup, Laura Sugar and Hope Gordon progressed through to the KL3W final. Laura took second place in her heat on the back of a European bronze medal, whilst Hope battled hard in heat 2 to secure a third place finish.

Jonny Young and Rob Oliver will take on the men’s KL3 final after some close heats. Rob took second place in heat 1, just 0.6 off top spot. Jonny narrowly took third in a stacked heat 2 with a time of 41.794.

On the back of his European Championships win, Stuart Wood progressed through to the VL3M A final, coming through his heat in emphatic fashion, whilst Jack Eyers will compete in the B final after a fifth place finish in the semi-finals.

Nick Beighton and Dave Phillipson will compete in the KL2 men’s final after they both secured top two finishes in their semi-finals to progress to the next day, as did Ian Marsden in the men’s KL1 who will race again in Friday’s final after a second placed finish in his heat.

Stewart Clark finished the action with a seventh placed finish in the VL2 semi-final with a time of 1.00.876.