New champions crowned at ocean racing world titles in Portugal
Kenny Rice has continued South Africa’s dominance of the men’s competition at the ICF Canoe Ocean Racing World Championships, while Jemma Smith won Australia’s first women’s senior title on an exciting day of racing in Portugal.
Rice managed to sprint clear of teammate Hank McGregor in the calm conditions at Viano do Castelo to win South Africa a fourth men’s title in the six world championships contested since 2013. Rice finished second behind his brother, Sean, a two-time world champion, in 2019.
“It feels a little weird, I had no idea I was at the front,” Rice said.
“I was just pushing along there, I saw Hank on the inside so I just tried to race him into the beach, and had a really good section at the end. It was a solid race and I left it all on the line.
“I just tried to hang in there at the start, and then recalibrated after the first five kilometres and really had a go. After 12 kilometres I was just hoping for top five, but close to the finish I knew I had the upper hand and I just kept telling myself to shut the door.
“I’m really chuffed to bring it back home for the Rices.”
McGregor won his second silver medal, while Australia’s Mackenzie Hynard took his first senior world championship medal by finishing third.
The women’s race quickly developed into a contest between Australia’s Smith, the U23 world champion from 2019, and New Zealand’s 2019 senior world champion, Danielle McKenzie.
Smith took control in the second half of the race to secure Australia’s first medal in the senior world championship women’s competition.
“I’m really stoked with that, I came into this race not really knowing how I would go because we haven’t raced internationally for a long time,” Smith said.
“Seeing the world championships being run last year, and Australia and New Zealand not being able to contest was really tough and I was itching to get back this year and put a good race together.
“I think we were all probably hoping for a bit more wind, the first half of the course definitely had a bit more assistance than the last half. It got really tough towards the end. I just tried to keep my head down and go as hard as I could to the finish line.”
McKenzie finished second, with 2021 world champion Michelle Burn of South Africa taking the bronze.
It was a strong day on the water for South Africa, who also picked up three of the four under-age titles on offer.
Joshua Fenn won the men’s U23, Joshua Smith took the men’s junior title, and Saskia Hockly ws crowned women’s junior champion. USA’s Ana Swetish won the women’s U23 race.
SMITH Jemma (AUS) 01:26:05.45
MCKENZIE Danielle (NZL) 01:27:31.06
BURN Michelle (RSA) 01:28:14.78
RICE Kenneth (RSA) 01:17:10.78
MCGREGOR Hank (RSA) 01:17:22.18
HYNARD Mackenzie (AUS) 01:17:48.03
SWETISH Ana (USA) 01:30:37.36
BESTER Kira (RSA) 01:32:13.07
CAHILL Roisin (IRL) 01:35:06.34
FENN Joshua (RSA) 01:18:59.75
PEREIRA Bernardo (POR) 01:20:29.84
GEBHARDT Claas (GER) 01:21:29.15
HOCKLY Saskia (RSA) 01:32:00.95
SMITH Holly (RSA) 01:35:09.73
RAYWARD Jasmine (AUS) 01:35:10.50
SMITH Joshua (RSA) 01:22:59.43
LANEE Marin (FRA) 01:24:03.01
COETZER Matthew (RSA) 01:25:19.95