Brothers, mothers headline Games canoe sprint hopes

Murray Wenzel |

Tokyo Olympic champion Jean van der Westhuyzen has been selected to represent at the Paris Games.
Tokyo Olympic champion Jean van der Westhuyzen has been selected to represent at the Paris Games.

Aly Bull and Alyce Wood will equal an Australian women’s Olympic sprint canoe record when they compete in a third Games, the pair among 11 confirmed to race in Paris.

Riley Fitzsimmons will also compete in a third games while Tokyo Olympic champions Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen return for their second Olympics.

Ally Clarke, Yale Steinepreis, Ella Beere, Noah Havard, Pierre van der Westhuyzen and Jackson Collins will all make their Olympic debuts, Collins following in the footsteps of four-time Olympian paddler father Daniel.

Wood and Bull will draw level with Anna Wood, who competed between 1992 and 2000 for Australia.

Alyssa Bull and Alyce Wood.
Alyssa Bull and Alyce Wood representing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. (AP PHOTO)

Things will be a little different this time around for Wood with two-year-old daughter Florence in the picture.

Wood finished fifth in the women’s K1 at last year’s World Championships, less than a year after returning to competition.

“To have made it, and have Florence cheering me on, and to have her there at the finish line no matter how good or bad I go, it makes it all worth it,” she said.

“When I was a kid, going to one Olympics would have been the absolute dream, to go to two would have been even better but to now be selected for three … it’s just out of this world.

“I’ve been paddling for 16 years now and I’ve seen a lot of change in the sport over time, and a lot of different teams and athletes.

“I can safely say that this is one of our best all round teams, Olympic, Paralympic, men and women.”

Jean and Pierre van der Westhuyzen will become the second pair of brothers in Olympic history to compete in canoe sprint for Australia, following John and Robert Doak in 1984.

Green and van der Westhuyzen won K2 gold over 1000 metres in Tokyo but will race over 500m in a shortened event in Paris, a distance the pair won bronze in at the 2022 World Championships.

AUSTRALIAN CANOE SPRINTERS IN PARIS:

* Alyce Wood (K1 500m)

* Aly Bull, Ally Clarke, Yale Steinepreis, Ella Beere (K4 500m)

* Tom Green (K1 1000m), Jean van der Westhuyzen (K2 500m)

* Riley Fitzsimmons, Noah Havard, Pierre van der Westhuyzen, Jackson Collins (K4 500m).

AAP