AUSTRALIA’S best long distance canoeists will vie in Ballarat next year to compete in the world championships in the United States.
Canoeing Victoria has selected Lake Wendouree as the venue for the 2014 Australian Marathon Canoeing Championships, which double as national selection trials, during the Easter weekend of April 19-20.
The regatta is expected to attract at least 200 competitors, ranging from under-12s to open, masters and veterans.
Canoeing Victoria marathon racing technical committee chairman Joe Alia told The Courier yesterday that Lake Wendouree had been chosen ahead of past venues, the Yarra River in Melbourne and Barwon River in Geelong.
He said the organising committee was hopeful of gaining state government funding to help run the flat water event.
As part of the preparations for the nationals, Canoeing Victoria is using the state marathon titles in Ballarat tomorrow and Sunday as a test event.
Close to 120 entries comprising some 70 paddlers are expected for the two-day regatta, which features singles and doubles categories across all age groups – from 11 to 70 years.
Reigning national open men’s and women’s flat water marathon champions, Michael Leverett and Kate McGrath, head the entries.
Leverrett took out this year’s national title on the Swan River, Perth, and leaves with McGrath next week for the world championships in Denmark.
He will be defending his world veterans 40 years championship in Copenhagen.
Leverett also won the title in Italy, where he also finished fifth in the open class.
Australian under-18 champion Penny Young and former national titleholder Rebecca Mann, who has represented Australia in sprint events, will also be on Lake Wendouree at the weekend.
Two circuits have been set up on Lake Wendouree, with events ranging from 8km to 24km.
Ballarat Amateur Canoe Club paddlers Clinton Langdon, Dennis Boyle and Tanya Beacham will also be competing in familiar surrounds in the Victorian marathon championships on Lake Wendouree this weekend.
Racing begins at 11am each day.
Tomorrow: senior and under-18 singles; under-16, under-14, sub-junior doubles.
Sunday: senior and under-18 doubles; under-16, under-14, sub-juniors doubles.