Double delight for Arawa's 'top-class' fab four
The Arawa canoe club's K4 combination struck gold twice at the national championships at Lake Rotorua.
The four-man team of brothers Zac and Ryan Quickenden, along with Alex Fort and Chris Nutsford, won the open K4 1000m title and was only a second from breaking the 3min barrier.
"It was a still a top-class effort," said coach Leigh Barker.
The quartet then won the K4 200m open title.
Those titles capped a successful weekend for the Quickenden brothers, especially with Zac, 18, placing second in the K1 1000m behind Olympic representative Ben Fouhy while Fort was third. Zac was second in the open K1 200. The brothers teamed to finish second in the K2 1000m and K2 200 while Nutsford was third in the K1 500m.
The Quickenden brothers stayed on to attend the national trials and and will attend an international meeting in Sydney next week before a New Zealand team for the world championships later in the year is selected.
Danielle Currie and Lucy Johnson also collected a swag of medals in the under-18 and under- 23 events with Currie winning both age-groups in the K1 1000m. Another member of the Quickenden family, Sharne, 22, collected four bronze medals. Disabled athlete Scott Martlew impressed racing against able-bodied athletes, winning some open B finals and coming midfield in main events.
"He is only 10 seconds or so behind the likes of a Fouhy which is remarkable," Barker said.
Martlew lost a leg at Shirley Boys' High School three years ago when it became infected with a flesh-eating disease. He is a realistic medal target in the K1 200m at the world para canoe championships later this year Barker, believes.
Martlew is setting his sights on making the Paralympics for the 2016 Games at Rio and has become a carded national athlete.