22 May 2016

Carrington claims gold on road to Rio

2:14 pm on 22 May 2016

Olympic champion Lisa Carrington has made a winning start on her road to the Rio Olympics, taking gold in the women's K1 200m final at the year's opening canoe sprint World Cup in Germany.

The New Zealand kayaker Lisa Carrington in World Cup action.

The New Zealand kayaker Lisa Carrington in World Cup action. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fellow New Zealander Aimee Fisher finished eighth.

However it didn't go all Carrington's way on the water, with an old rival returning to complicate the New Zealander's hopes of double Olympic gold.

Carrington's vice-like grip on the K1 200m distance continued, with her 12th consecutive major title in the event in Germany, crushing the final field.

However Hungarian Danuta Kozák edged Carrington in the semi-finals of the K1 500m later in the day.

Kozák is a double world champion at the distance, beating Carrington in both 2012 and 2013, but opted to race in team boats for much of last season.

She helped Hungary win world championship gold in the K2 and silver in the K4 in Milan last year, while Carrington created history by winning the 200m-500m K1 double.

Kozák showed she's still a force in the individual ranks, however, clocking 1min 47.792secs in the semi-final overnight, edging Carrington by 0.748secs as both paddlers qualified for tonight's final with the fastest two times of the day.

Carrington is racing both distances in Rio, with the World Cup rounds an ideal chance to fine-tune preparation.

"The fields are super strong now and it's always good to race these girls," she said. "It's really good practice, going through the nerves and the process of racing."

The 26-year-old was in a class of her own in the 200m final, however, overcoming a fast start from Poland's Marta Walczykiewic and powering away to win in 38.88secs.

She was 0.592s ahead of Azerbaijan's silver medalist Inna Osipenko-Rodomska, with Walczykiewic fading to third.

Fisher was eighth in the final, recording her second personal best in as many days with a 40.560sec time.

Fisher joined Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan and Kayla Imrie in the women's K4 500 bat as they finished third in their heat and qualified directly for tonight's final.

Marty McDowell was the other New Zealander in action overnight, finishing third in the C final of the K1 1000m after a disrupted buildup.

McDowell has been battling illness since arriving in Europe a fortnight ago.

Carrington's K1 500m final will be 8.39pm tonight (NZ time), with the K4 final just over an hour later.