She bagged three world titles in 2013 but Kiwi kayaking star Teneale Hatton still doesn’t rate it as a break-through year – 2014 could be a different story, however.
The 24-year-old Aucklander will hit the flatwater again for the first time this season at this week’s national canoe sprint championships in Rotorua, fresh from a lengthy training stint in Europe and a bit of salt-water paddling.
Piha’s Teneale Hatton (front) and Kirsty Wannan head to victory in the women’s double ski at the Eastern Region surf lifesaving championships in Whangamata. Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services
Hatton’s clash with world and Olympic champion Lisa Carrington (Eastern Bay) in tomorrow’s K1 500m race will be one of the highlights of the three-day regatta, although the North Shore club member will be taking a longer-term view of proceedings.
“I want to put down some good results and show that I’m still there from last season but I’m not going out to set any PBs or anything,” Hatton said. “I’m really interested to see the young paddlers coming through. We’ve got some great young talent emerging and I’m quite excited about that, especially when we’re looking to fill out some team boats in future. Lisa and I also haven’t raced yet this season and those young girls have been winning most of the races so it will be really cool to see where we’re at this weekend.”
Hatton captured the 5000m world championship title last year, as well as winning ICF marathon and ocean surf ski world championships in the under-23 division.
Instead of returning home at the end of the European season, she elected to remain in Hungary with coach Laszlo Toth, spending three months working on her off-season fitness.
“I learned a lot and definitely see the importance of having a proper base in training now. It’s going to be interesting to see my results around August, because that’s when that off-season work will really start showing. Last year definitely showed the training I’ve been doing worked but it was more like a trial year – I realised I didn’t just need a good program, I need a group of people around me to train with. I know what’s going to help me improve now, especially in the middle of the season when you need to do a lot of sprint-specific training.”
in the meantime, her only racing in anger this year has been at the beach, competing for Piha at last month’s Eastern Region surf lifesaving championships in Whangamata, where she picked up a couple of bronze medals and won the double ski with clubmate Kirsty Wannan.
She’ll pair up with another surf lifesaver, Caitlin Ryan, in the K2 events this weaken Rotorua’s Lake Tikitapu, where rivals will include Hawke’s Bay teenager Aimee Fisher and Gisborne’s Kim Thompson. The young pair won a K2 500m bronze medal at last year’s junior world championships in Canada.
Fast-rising Fisher also won the open K1 200-500m double at the national selection regatta in December and is eager to test herself against the best in the world with Carrington’s return to competition.
“I have been waiting for this race for a year – Lisa has missed the last few regattas and this is my chance to see how close I can get to her,” Fisher said. “It’s going to be a really interesting weekend.”
The men’s ranks, meanwhile, have been bolstered by 2008 Olympic champion Ken Wallace and Australian compatriot Lachlan Tame, who is also the world surf ski champion. They’ll battle a number of hungry locals looking to book New Zealand team spots for later in the year.