Katie Reid and Deborah Kerr got Britain off to a strong start on day one of the 2021 Canoe Sprint European Olympic Qualifier, with both athletes progressing to their respective finals in Szeged, Hungary.
After 20 months away from international competition, the has squad return to Szeged as they seek further boat quota spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, with three sprint athletes racing on the first day of competition.
Deborah Kerr stormed to victory in her women’s K1 200m heat to bypass the semi-finals and take her place directly into tomorrow’s final. It looked a tight start for Deborah with a number of the field looking neck and neck during the first 100m, but the Strathclyde athlete powered on to take a substantial lead on the backend of the race and cross the line first with a time of 40.24, the second quickest across the heats.
Pleased with her performance on return to racing, she said:
“I’m delighted with my race today, I knew I could produce a time like that but it was just going to be a case of everyone else around me, I just didn’t know what people had been up to the last two years.
I was feeling pretty confident going into the race and hopefully that showed out on the water. I know it’s going to be tough tomorrow but I think having a couple of girls either side of me in the final to really push me on and bring that time down.– Deborah Kerr
“It was really nice to be in the race environment. You can’t prepare for it really, and I was wondering how I would react being back in that environment again, but I feel I settled into it really well.”
Katie Reid too progressed directly through to the final of the women’s C1 200m. The Forth paddler got off to a strong start and was in line with the top three after the first 100m, and from then on Katie pushed ahead with Georgia’s Mariami Kerdikashvili to claim second place with a time of 51.14.
The second place finish means Katie will directly take her place on the finals start list on Thursday.
Charlie Smith unfortunately narrowly missed out on a spot in the men’s K1 1000m final after a tightly fought semi-finals. Charlie eased through his heat with a fourth place finish, but was so close to getting a top three spot needed to progress through to the tomorrow’s A Final, coming 0.12 seconds behind third place.
Racing returns once again tomorrow with the sprint finals involving Deborah, Katie and also the C2W 500 crew of Afton Fitzhenry and Chloe Bracewell.
Tomorrow also sees the heats and semi-finals for the paracanoe athletes.
C1W 200m – Katie Reid - 2nd in heat and progresses direct to Final
K1M 1000m – Charlie Smith – 4th in heat, 4th in semi-final
K1W 200m – Deborah Kerr – 1st in heat and progresses direct to Final