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Szeged World Champs

4 Elmbridge paddlers competed at the recent World Champs in Szeged,Hungary.


Ben Farrell K2 1000,  & K1 200m relay

Tim Brabants K21000

Louisa Sawyers K4 500

Lani Belcher K2500 (Hayleigh Mason), &  K1 5000m


Ben/Tim. Thrown together only 4 weeks before the Worlds, was never going to be the best preparation for a regatta of this importance.  They looked pretty impressive in their heats though, and were unlucky at 3rd in their semi-final not to progress as the fastest loser, missing out by just under a second to the Swedish crew who eventually finished with a silver medal. It is going to be tough for any crew to qualify at next years European round but if this boat stays together it could claim the last remaining qualification place.

In the K1 200m relay Ben was the third man and the team did well to reach the A final. 9th place was probably not a true reflection of their ability but in this event pretty much anything can and does happen with changeovers being pretty vague at best!


Louisa Sawyers was one of the stars of the show over the weekend.  Not only did the women’s K4 go directly to the final from their heat, but they beat the favoured German crew to do it. Impressive stuff ! and  it didn’t end there In the final the GB crew were ahead of the field for a significant portion of the race and showed that they will be genuine medal contenders come 2012.  Louisa has qualified an athlete place for the Olympics and now has to concentate on keeping that place for herself!


Lani Belcher changed partners at the last minute for her K2500m qualification attempt. Hayleigh Mason was swapped in for Angela Hannah, the theory being it would be a sharper boat. They did well in qualifying but still only well enough to make the B Final, where a headwind really didn’t do them any favours and they finished 5th.  Lani has performed well throughout the year and this was not the ending she deserved.

In the Womens 5K  her fortunes were reverse. From the off she raced faultlessly and stayed out of trouble on the lead wash of the Belorus athlete Paltaran. After just a couple of laps, the field was reduced to 3 women and the only question was what colour medal would she get. In the end the Hungarian world 1000m champion proved too strong over the last 500m but Lani did a great job to gain a well deserved silver medal, this brings the club total of WC medals to 36.

Overall, our Elmbridge paddlers did us all proud and I am sure they will attack the tough tough challenge of qualification next year with renewed vigour. We wish them all the best after a year that was not without its problems, and will look forward to supporting them next season.