04/03/2024

Lachlan Tame is one of 14 Australians going for gold in the Flatwater canoe/kayak events. Image: paddle.org.au

Australia has competed in flatwater Canoeing/ Kayaking since 1956 but hasn't had the desired success. is that about to change at Tokyo 2020?

There are 12 flatwater canoeing/kayaking events at Tokyo 2020. For all your Olympic coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

Flatwater canoeing events started at the 1936 Berlin Olympic games and have been a staple in the program ever since.

Australia has had 127 athletes, men and women compete in canoeing/kayaking events at the Olympics since its inception at the 1956 games in Melbourne.

There are 5 classifications of events at Tokyo 2020 of canoe sprinting, classed into different events by the length of the race and different boats that are used, Canoe and Kayaks. The key differences are the position of the paddler, the types of paddle and of course, the style of boat.

Canoes are paddled from a kneeling position with a single-bladed paddle. The craft carries one (C-1) or two (C-2) athletes and the event was previously only open to men, however, at Tokyo 2020 there will be the Women’s C-1 200m and Women’s C-2 500m.

Sprint racing canoes are open deck craft.

Kayaks are closed and paddled from a sitting position. In sprint racing, they are controlled by a mechanism that is controlled by the athlete’s feet. The Paddle has a single blade on both ends.

History out on the water:

Australia first competed in the canoe/ kayaking events at the Melbourne 1956 games where Dennis Green and Wally Brown claimed bronze in the now discontinued K2 10,000 metre event.

Dennis Green holds the record of representing Australia with appearances at 5 Olympic games, only netting the single medal at his home Olympics on debut.

Australia’s most recent medallist in flatwater and sprinting events was Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame in the K2 1000 metres classification, claiming a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.

Ken Wallace was the last Australian to claim a gold medal in flatwater sprinting in the now discontinued K1 500 metre event back at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

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Who to watch for?

The recent world championship events in Szeged and Barnaul have given the best indication of some of the medalists will come from.

Germany will look to continue their stranglehold on the flatwater and sprint events after collecting seven (four gold) medals in the events at Rio. The Germans were prominent among the A Finals in Szeged.

Sebastian Brendel (GER) will be searching for back-to-back Gold Medals in the C2 Classification, Qualifying quickest with new paddle partner Tim Hecker.

Brendel also won the C1-1000 metres event in Rio and qualified 5th fasted for the Olympics in the European qualifying events.

Australia’s will be hoping Lachlan Tame can equal or better his efforts from Rio and be a medal chance for Australia.

Australian Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking Team

NameEventOlympics
Jo Brigden-JonesWomen’s K-4 500 m2nd (London 2012)
Alyssa BullWomen’s K-4 500 m2nd (Rio 2016)
Josephine BulmerWomen’s C-2 500 mDebut
Riley FitzsimmonsMen’s K-2 1000 m2nd (Rio 2016)
Thomas GreenMen’s K-1 200 mDebut
Catherine McArthurWomen’s K-1 500 m, Women’s K-2 500 mDebut
Shannon ReynoldsWomen’s K-2 500 mDebut
Jaime RobertsWomen’s K-4 500 mDebut
Murray StewartMen’s K-1 1000 m, Men’s K-4 500 m3rd (London 2012, Rio 2016)
Lachlan TameMen’s K-4 500 m2nd (Rio 2016)
Jean Van der WesthuyzenMen’s K-4 500 mDebut
Bernadette WallaceWomen’s C-1 200 m, Women’s C-2 500 mDebut
Jordan WoodMen’s K-2 1000 m, Men’s K-4 500 m2nd (Rio 2016)
Alyce Wood (nee Burnett)Women’s K-4 500 m2nd (Rio 2016)

The Flatwater Canoeing/Kayaking event will commence on the 2 August and run through to 7 August at the Sea Forest Waterway

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