Burnett and Bull win gold at the Canoe Sprint Championships
SUNSHINE Coast pair Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull further pressed their claims yesterday for Rio selection by winning gold in the K2 500 at the Australian Canoe Sprint Championships in Penrith.
After finishing a close second to Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood at Grand Prix 2 last month, the pair was delighted to get the race win and enhance their case for Olympic selection, although Brigden-Jones and Flood were absent.
Burnett said: "Obviously Jo and Floody are not racing today due to injury, but to be able to come out and win that against such a quality field is really good."
The Coast pair powered home in the closing 250 metres to beat Western Australia's Alana Nicholls and Jaime Roberts by 0.26 seconds, winning in 1:46.54.
Bull said: "We were really nervous at the start as we really wanted to smash it and it was a bit of a rocky race.
"But we managed to hold it together long enough to the end, so we are pretty happy."
The victory should ensure the two women secure a place in the senior team this year.
"I think for us the selection is to obviously win one of the Olympic distances, which is what we did, so I think unofficially we have booked ourselves a place on the senior team," Bull said.
The K2 triumph followed impressive performances by Burnett and Bull in the K1 500 final, where they finished second and third respectively behind Nicholls.
Bull and Burnett are hoping to do the double this year by competing at the ICF under-23 and senior world championships, and move a step closer to their Rio dream.
"I think it is really early days as we have to think about Olympic-selection events first this year ... but how cool would it be to get a Sunny Coast double on the Olympic team," Burnett said.
Also yesterday, the Coast's Bill Bain continued his comeback from an injury-riddled couple of seasons to finish fifth in the highly competitive men's K1 1000 final.
"Yeah, it was a good result," Bain said. "I cannot complain at all in a field of that calibre and to be able to get midfield amongst those guys is a pretty good achievement for where I have been the past couple of months."
Like Bull and Burnett, Bain too has the Olympics in the back of his mind.
"There is always possibilities for Olympics and everybody is thinking about it, but at the moment it is about getting a position on the senior team and maintaining it, and pushing the guys that are in front of me to qualify for the Olympics firstly, and then if I do not make it, I don't make it," Bain said.
"But if I am pushing those guys and if they get medals then I am happy to be where I am.
"As long as we are going well as a country I am happy."