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Paddler Carmichael wins two golds at World Cup regatta

TRIUMPH: Georgia Carmichael with coach Tom Daniels

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Longridge Canoe Club paddler Georgia Carmichael crowned her debut for Great Britain under-18s women with two gold medals at the ICF World Cup regatta in Hazewinkel, Belgium.

After overcoming a shoulder injury, 15-year-old Carmichael suffered a scare in the qualifying stages when she capsized in the 3.6km race which includes two 100m portages where the paddlers pick up their kayaks and run. However, she kept her nerve to finish third and qualify for the final in which she excelled.

The Bourne End resident showed her real form in paddling the course nearly a minute faster than before and, also showing sound tactical knowledge, she won in 18mins 49.289secs.

The following day Claires Court School pupil Carmichael won the gruelling 20km race in a heatwave.

After racing for more than 90 minutes, Carmichael led a group of four boats into the final 100m and was pressed hard to the finish by Belgian Amber Broekhaven before claiming World Cup gold by just 1.79secs with a time of 1.34.58.34.

Carmichael was supported in Belgium by coach Tom Daniels, a volunteer at Longridge and himself a multiple World Cup medallist.

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Olympic K1 200m champion Liam Heath added to his recent gold in the first World Cup event in Szeged, Hungary by winning silver in the next race of the series in Belgrade over the weekend.

This discipline produces the tightest racing in canoe sprint and so it was on this occasion with a hundredth of a second separating Heath from winner Maxime Beaumont of France who crossed the line in 35.422.

It is a strong start to the season for Maidenhead resident Heath, although the intense spell of racing has taken its toll.

Speaking after the event, Heath was in a positive frame of mind.

“I don’t think I was firing on all cylinders today,” he said.

“It’s been quite a long trip out here with last weekend and this one, so I’m happy to walk away with silver.

“It was an incredibly close race. I gave as good as I could have out there today in a slight headwind coming into the finish.

“It’s been a very good start to the season and it shows that our training is in the right place.”

Now Heath is looking forward to easing back slightly before the next block of training leading into the European

Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in July.

“Next week I’ll drop down with a bit of gym work, then I’ll have a little break with my wife before getting back to hard training for a kind of microcycle.”

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