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Brits book finals spots on opening day of 2022 Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships

Finals spots were booked on the opening day of the 2022 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships in Halifax, Canada, as all 10 British boats in action on day one secured progression to the next round of competition.

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A bumper 25 minutes of paracanoe heats kick-started British proceedings in the humid conditions on Lake Banook, with Charlotte Henshaw, Hope Gordon, Dave Phillipson and Rob Oliver all topping their individual races to progress direct to finals later in the week.

Charlotte Henshaw heads into these World Championships with a women’s VL3 title to defend after claiming gold in Copenhagen last year. She got her 2022 campaign off to a great start by topping her heat and booking a spot in Friday’s final in a time of 59.89. 

Coming into the competition with a Paralympic title and two World titles from 2021, Charlotte was pleased to get the competition off to a good start as she doubles up in this event and the women’s KL2 once again in Canada.

Winning world silver in the same event last season, Hope Gordon too raced strongly to join her British teammate in the women’s VL3 final. 

With the event set to make its Paralympic debut in Paris 2024, Hope powered ahead of the chasing pack to cross the line in 1:00.62, over three seconds ahead of Ukraine’s Nataliia Lahutenko.

Dave Phillipson was first up for Britain and put down an impressive run to top his men’s KL2 heat and take his place directly into Friday’s final. 

The Nottingham born paddler finished 7th on his Paralympic debut in the sport last year, and looked strong from the start, setting the pace to cross the line in 44.50, 0.79 ahead of his nearest challenger.

Racing internationally for the first time in nearly a year, Dave was pleased to get his World Championships going in a confident fashion.

A dominant heats performance saw Tokyo Paralympic bronze and 2021 World silver medallist Rob Oliver progress directly into his men’s KL3 final on Friday.

Needing to win his heat to bypass the semi-finals, Rob looked impressive straight out the bucket, and consistently kept clear water between himself and Hungary’s Erik Kiss to finish top in a time of 41.96.

Just missing out on the top spot in his heat, Jonny Young required the semi-final later on in the day to ensure he featured alongside Rob in the men’s KL3 final.

It was a great performance from the CANI athlete as he returned to the water, who got ahead of the remaining athletes early to comfortably take first spot in a time of 42.46.

Deborah Kerr (Anker Valley), Emma Russell (Chelmsford), Emily Lewis (Worcester) and Rebii Simon (Elmbridge) were back on the water as a K4 500m crew this morning in Canada, after a fifth place finish in the second World Cup earlier this season.

The four athletes combined incredibly well once again, putting down a fast paced final 250m to cross the line in fifth place during their heat, securing their position in the semi-finals.

Under two second separated the top five in their stacked heat and they will return to action again on Friday morning.

Debs and Rebii were delighted with the first showing at these World Championships.

Emily returned to the water later on in the afternoon as she progressed to the semi-finals in the women’s K1 500m. 

In a heat featuring Olympic Champion Lisa Carrington, Emily got a good start out of the buckets and was top four at the halfway point. The Worcester paddler pushed on from there to end the race strongly and finish third in a time of 1:59.15

A fourth place heats finish from Chelmsford’s Dan Johnson in the men’s K1 1000m capped off the first day of competition in Canada.

In what was an increasing headwind throughout the day, Dan was always challenging the top three and his time of 3:45.51 was in the top eight across the heats and enough to put him into the semi-finals.

Pleased with his performance, Dan is looking to build into the semi-final.

"It was a good race.

"There was a big wind in that heat. Fourth in that heat but the time was eighth overall so that was really positive. 

"A strong headwind but it was like that the whole weekend whilst training so used to it. 

"I've got a bit of time to recover from that, stick to the plan, my semi-final is a key race."

Taking on their first international season as a crew, Noah Dembele (Leaside), Tom Lusty (Solihull), Trevor Thomson (Ealing) and Lewis Fletcher (Scottish Performance Squad) will contest the men’s K4 500m semi-finals after a sixth place finish in their heat.

Getting their first taste of international experience as a crew at the first World Cup in Racice, they looked sharp on the water to finish in a time of 1:25.40.

Beth Gill (Chelmsford) and Afton Fitzhenry (Belfast) will also be in semi-final action later in the week after a sixth place finish in the women’s C2 500m heats. The World Championships is the first time this season the pair have had an opportunity to race internationally and the duo finished in a strong time of 2:10.32.

Jeanette Chippington gets the British team underway on day 2 of competition, and you can follow all the action from across the week here.

Results on Day One:

Dave Phillipson - Men’s KL2 Heats - 1st in 44.50 and progresses direct to Final

Charlotte Henshaw - Women’s VL3 Heats - 1st in 59.89 and progresses direct to Final

Hope Gordon - Women’s VL3 Heats - 1st in 1:00.62 and progresses direct to Final

Rob Oliver - Men’s KL3 Heats - 1st in 41.96 and progresses direct to Final

Jonny Young - Men’s KL3 Heat - 2nd in 42.06; semi-final 1st in 42.46 and progresses to Final

Deborah Kerr (Anker Valley), Emma Russell (Chelmsford), Emily Lewis (Worcester) and Rebii Simon (Elmbridge) Women’s K4W 500m Heats - 5th place in 1:38.50 and progresses to semi-final

Tom Lusty (Solihull), Lewis Fletcher (Linlithgow Kayak Racing), Trevor Thomson (Ealing) and Noah Dembele (Olympic Racing Squad) - Men’s K4 500m Heats - 6th in 1:25.40 and progresses to semi-final

Beth Gill (Chelmsford) & Afton Fitzhenry (Belfast) - Women’s C2 500m Heats - 6th in 2:10.32 and progresses to semi-final

Emily Lewis (Worcester) - Women’s K1 500m Heats - 3rd in 1:59.15 and progresses to semi-final

Dan Johnson (Chelmsford) - Men's K1 1000m Heats - 4th in 3:45.51 and progresses to semi-final