CANOE/KAYAK: Jo Brigden-Jones has moved a step closer to securing herself a place on the Australian Olympic team after winning the K1 200 A final at the Oceania canoe sprint Championships and second Grand Prix in Adelaide.
The London Olympian held off challenges from Western Australian Alana Nicholls and Queensland’s Alyce Burnett to successfully defend her K1 200 title in 42.08.
Only 0.11 seconds separated the top three women with Brigden-Jones finishing 0.06 seconds ahead of Nicholls in a photo finish.
“It is definitely great to have three girls crossing the line together,” Brigden-Jones said.
“I think the higher competition we have domestically puts us in a good sport internationally when we go race other girls over there as they are so fast as well so having to step up to this level now in February is going to help all of us which is pretty exciting.”
Brigden-Jones admitted being a bit relieved post-race as she was trying not to think about it being an Olympic qualifying race.
“I just wanted to focus on my race plan and I tried to put that to the back of my mind,” she said.
“It kind of hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I am a step ahead of the other girls now having won a race which is part of the selection criteria but I have a lot of races still to come this weekend and also nationals in three weeks’ time so I have to win a few more races to confirm my spot on the team but it’s good to get a little step up now.”
Brigden-Jones will line up alongside fellow NSWIS paddler Naomi Flood in the women’s K2 500 heats this afternoon.
Earlier, Brigden-Jones and Western Australian Steve Bird secured two Olympic quotas for Australia.
Subject to a validity check by the International Canoe Federation (ICF), Marius Florian and Jason Nejman also secured two men's canoe Australian Olympic Team quotas after they won their C2 1000 heat in 4:08.26.
In other results, Ken Wallace, Lachlan Tame, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear got their quest for Olympic selection underway with victory in the K4 1000 final.
The quad recorded a time of 2:58.24 to finish 2.45 seconds ahead of Riley Fitzsimmons, Joel McKitterick, Daniel Bowker and Jordan Wood.
Wallace and Tame also teamed up to win the first K2 1000 heat to advance to the A final. Fitzsimmons and Wood won the second semifinal.
Finally, the start list for the men’s K1 200 A final tomorrow is complete.
Western Australian trio Steve Bird, Brodie Holmes and Jesse Phillips, and South Australian Callum Dunn will race from the centre lanes after winning their respective semi-finals.