Lisa Carrington isn't holding her breath for a Halberg win

The Halberg Awards have been little more than an opportunity to get dressed up for Lisa Carrington over the last four years.
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The Halberg Awards have been little more than an opportunity to get dressed up for Lisa Carrington over the last four years.

Lisa Carrington is rarely a bridesmaid.

The sprint kayaker swept all before her this year to win the K1 200m and 500m title at the world championships, becoming the first women to do the double since legendary Canadian paddler Caroline Brunet won both events, plus the K1 1000m title, in 1999.

That year Brunet won the Lou Marsh Trophy for outstanding Canadian athlete of the year, beating out the likes of golfer Mike Weir and ice hockey player Joe Nieuwendyk, who was finals MVP of the Dallas Stars team that won the coveted Stanley Cup.

While Carrington did not win the 1000m title, her achievements must have her as a frontrunner for at least sportswoman of the year at the Halberg Awards, as well as a contender for the top gong.

She's been nominated for the former in each of the past four years, but watched on as, first, shot putter Valerie Adams won for two years, then golfer Lydia Ko took consecutive titles.

Adams had been injured most of this year and Ko has ticked along at a similar rate to what she did in 2014 - although if she pulls out a major win this weekend then the calculation would change.

Carrington could not have done more to win the award, but said she didn't expect to be claiming one of the silver trophies come February.

"You never know, I don't hold my breath, for me it's a great night to get dressed up as I don't get to do that at all."

She said no opinion-based award would change the sense of satisfaction she gets from winning.

"I don't go and do the races I do to win a Halberg, but I think we have to bring it back to why we have the Halbergs and that's to raise awareness for disability and to celebrate the achievements from the year in sport.

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"It is an opinion and with our sport you either win or you lose, on the day that's what you are and no opinion changes our performances and how we feel about our performances."

Carrington won't be one to dwell on the Halberg results, especially not now that she has started studying a graduate diploma in psychology via correspondence at Massey University, having already earned a Bachelor of Arts.

"It's something that I want to learn about and you've got to think about things after kayaking as well."

While the 26-year-old is not expecting to jump into sports psychology when she finishes kayaking, the study helps to give her a solid life balance.

"If I'm getting a lot of enjoyment outside of sport it creates a really good balance and brings really good positivity to my paddling.

"It does get tricky when training is all the time and physically and mentally taxing, that has to come number one at times but I do get a lot of benefit from doing things outside of sport."

The draining nature of kayaking makes staying at the top level harder, but she said the 2016 Rio Olympics will not be her last event. 

"I wouldn't put it as my last race ever, that would be quite a lot of pressure and I think, for me, there is still a lot to keep learning.

"I don't know what the expiry date is for me, I'm 26 and a lot of women keep on paddling right into their 30s.

"It is tough physically and mentally and until that point where I stop enjoying it or finding growth, I think that's when it will be time to give it up. I think that will happen organically, just naturally moving on to the next thing."

The strenuous nature of kayaking meant she relished the opportunity to get away and wind down, as she did with a week holidaying in Italy following the world championships.

"That was really nice just to relax. Coming off a high-intensity event it does take a bit of time to wind down, it does take me a week or so to settle down and decompress a bit."

After a bit more rest, it will be full power as she looks to do another golden double at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

 - Stuff

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