Writer: Cora Zillich – Australian Canoeing
Three-time Olympian and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Ken Wallace (QLD) has made the decision to not contest the 2018 international season and to focus on the 2019 season and 2020 Olympic Qualification season.
Following some health setbacks earlier this season, Wallace decided to take a couple of months off to recharge the batteries and to spend some time with family ahead of the Olympic qualifying year in 2019 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
As a consequence, the 34-year old Gold Coast resident has officially withdrawn himself from the 2018 Australian Canoeing World Cup Squad and World Championship team.
“Obviously this was not an easy decision to make. Since 1999, I have been on the Australian National team every year except for one (2004). I believe the decision to stay at home this winter instead of the endless summers that I have been having is the best decision for my team mates and will create an opportunity to spend some much needed quality time with my family.
Ultimately, the goal is Tokyo 2020 and this is the best time to take a bit of a break and to come back refreshed, fitter and stronger for next season, which is only a few months away.
I am committed to competing in Tokyo 2020 and I will use this time to recharge the batteries. I will take a brief break from paddling and I’m sure I will benefit from a long off-season, which will give me the opportunity to work on some areas of my paddling to make me stronger for the important Olympic qualification year.”
Wallace was selected into this year’s World Cup and World Championship Squad following selection trials in February but had to withdraw from Nationals after juggling some health challenges during the selection regatta.
“We respect Kenny’s decision and we have no doubt that he will only be back fitter and stronger next year. He is one of our most decorated and most experienced paddlers and we will support him in this decision and are looking forward to have him back on the team as we ramp up our preparations for Tokyo next year,” Australian Canoeing’s National Performance Director Shaun Stephens said.
“Olympic Qualification in 2019 will be a big year and we have a great mix of experience and young talent on the team. There is a real sense of purpose amongst the group and everyone is understanding of Kenny’s decision, which is focused on the bigger picture and performing well at Tokyo 2020.”
The 2018 Sprint Team will kick-off the European sprint season at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Szeged, Hungary (18-20 May 2018) with the 2018 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal at the end of August wrapping up the international canoe sprint season.
2018 ICF Canoe Sprint Events
- ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 1, Szeged, Hungary, 18 – 20 May 2018 (Olympic & Paralympic)
- ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup 2, Duisburg, Germany, 25 – 27 May 2018 (Olympic Squad)
- ICF Canoe Sprint Junior & U23 World Championships, Plovdiv, Bulgaria 26 – 29 July 2018
- ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, Portugal, Montemor o Velho, Portugal, 23 – 26 August 2018 (Olympic & Paralympic)
2018 Australian Canoeing Sprint Team
SENIOR SQUAD – MEN
Bill Bain (QLD)
Steve Bird (WA)
Riley Fitzsimmons (NSW)
Matt Goble (SA)
Tom Green (QLD)
Simon McTavish (NSW)
Murray Stewart (NSW)
Jordan Wood (QLD)
SENIOR SQUAD – WOMEN
Jo Brigden-Jones (NSW)
Alyssa Bull (QLD)
Bulmer, Josephine (Canoe/ SA)
Alyce Burnett (QLD)
Cat McArthur (SA)
Jaime Roberts (WA)