Junior & U23 Sprint Worlds – NSW

Junior/Under 23’s World Championships, Auronzo Italy, 5-9 July. Report by Jake Michael and Sally Simons.

The Junior /Under 23’s World Championships has just concluded in Auronzo, Italy. NSW was well represented by 8 athletes, who performed admirably, and our NSWIS Head coach Jake Michael was the National Junior Team Coach, as well as two NSWIS support staff, Justin Noonan and Steve Hughes. Team Captains and Flag Bearers were Jasmine Locke (Illawarra CC) and Fletcher Armstrong (Avoca KC),  elected by their peers.


Team Captains and Flag bearers, Jasmine Locke, Fletcher Armstrong with NSWIS and National Junior Coach Jake Michael.

The NSW members of the team were: 

Michael Dunbar (Manly Warringah KC), Charlie Heaton Armstrong (Sydney Northern Beaches KC), Sean Ryce  (Sydney Northern Beaches KC), Ziko Vesely (Manly Warringah KC),

Jasmine Locke (ICC), Fletcher Armstrong (AKC), Harrison Taurins (SNBKC) Joachim Koekemoer (SNBKC) 

There were some very strong results from the NSW athletes.  

Results from the Worlds Champs:

A final (top 9):
Ziko Vesely  / Michael Dunbar – 9th Junior men’s K2 1000m
Ziko Vesely – 14th  Junior mens K1 5000m 
Fletcher Armstrong – 7th u23 mens K1 5000m
B final (places 10-18):
Fletcher Armstrong – 7th u23 men’s K1 500m, 4th u23 men’s K2 500m (racing with Maguire Reid SASI).
Jasmine Locke – 3rd u23 women’s K1 500m, 1st u23 womens K4 500m (racing with Demi Bates SASI, Charlie Smyth SASI, Caitlin Webber SASI)
Harrison Taurins / Joachim Koekemoer – 4th K2 1000m
Harrison Taurins – 3rd B final U23 mixed K2 500m (Demi Bates SASI)
Ziko Vesely – 6th junior mens K1 1000m
Sean Ryce / Charlie Heaton Armstrong – 3rd junior mens K4 500m (racing with Mitch Tamblin WAIS, Emerson Simmone SASI)
Sean Ryce – 4th junior Mixed K2 500m (racing with Chelsie Jentz QAS)
Michael Dunbar – 7th junior men’s K2 500m (racing with Ziah Peisker QAS)

Notable achievements:

Charlie and Michael – first time on a national team as 17 year olds in the junior (18year old) team. Both making finals in their first year – with another year to make improvements and hopefully better the result next year.

Ziko Vesely – this time last year he had made the junior team but after scans had to pull out with 2 broken vertebrae and bulging disk.  One year later and lots of recovery strategies he made the A final with NSWIS athlete Michael Dunbar in the junior mens K2 1000m. 

Ziko was winning the K1 5000m and after his rudder became jammed, he jumped into the water and straightened it, climbed back into his boat and was able to continue racing. He made up some places, but was unable to catch the winners.

Jasmine and Fletcher – flag bearers and team captains.

The NSW athletes, who are all part of the NSWIS team, have made us very proud and prove that the future is bright for Sprint Kayaking in NSW.  It is outstanding to have so many A and B finals performances, being up there amongst the best young athletes in the world. Well done to all the coaches, support staff and families involved in getting these athletes to the World Champs.

Jake and Jasmine

All photos by Jake Michael.  

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