Carrington new hope as Ben Fouhy bows out

DYNAMIC DUO: Lisa Carrington (right) and Erin Taylor in action in the K2 500 at the London Olympics.
DYNAMIC DUO: Lisa Carrington (right) and Erin Taylor in action in the K2 500 at the London Olympics.

Canoe racing New Zealand will be hoping London 2012 brings a new dawn.

After suffering some of the most bitter governance wars ever seen in New Zealand sport, the emergence of Lisa Carrington, the fresh-faced 23-year-old who won the world K1 200m title last year, could add a lick of pure paint to a traditionally strong Olympic discipline grown weary and divided.

Since Ian Ferguson, the nation's most successful Olympian, and Paul MacDonald put sprint canoeing on the map during the second half of the 1980s, Ferguson's continuation into the realm of coaching has been followed by fierce fighting which also embroiled Sport New Zealand.

Ferguson, like the competitor he is, hung in and remains a high performance coach. And in truth, Ferguson is also the real coaching powerbroker of CRNZ - a similar situation to the one New Zealand Football operates with Ricki Herbert.

But with the curtain now down on the career of Ben Fouhy, the man who rebelled against the Ferguson regime and was given ministerial dispensation to operate independently from his national organisation, CRNZ is likely to breathe a sigh of relief.

Fouhy's expletive-laden outburst after exiting London 2012 at the semifinal stage was heartfelt and revived many of the problems CRNZ has had to face in recent years.

But CRNZ probably won't mind. It was the last hurrah.

One of the main characters in a long, drawn-out saga has exited stage left, and in Carrington, CRNZ has the ideal vehicle to drive on with. A medal of any colour for Carrington, potentially even two, will go a long way to restoring the sport's lustre.

But it will also be interesting to see what Ferguson does next.

For his son and pupil Steven, London looks likely to be his last Games, begging the question of whether Ferguson Sr may even want to continue coaching.

Were he to move on, it would effectively drag an arm across the shelf of CRNZ, wiping the political landscape and restoring power to the administrators.

Fairfax Media