Kate qualifies boat for Beijing
By Steve Spinks
OLD Bonalbo's Kate Lawrence has secured Australia a spot at next year's Beijing Olympics after finishing 19th at the ICF World Slalom Kayak Championships in Brazil on Sunday night.
Lawrence's performance was good enough to place her amongst the top 15 nations at the event and be the second Australian boat to qualify for the Olympics following Robin Bell's bronze medal in the men's C1 category on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Northern Rivers paddler was set for a position in the top 10 before a couple of costly time penalties in her semi-final meant she missed the final.
Germany's Jennifer Bongardt went on to win the gold medal.
It was a gutsy effort by Lawrence who finished the heats placed in 27th on the difficult Foz du Iguacu course.
"I got off to a shaky start," Lawrence wrote on her website.
"My first run was quite bad, with four touches and a near-capsize.
"My second run was better but still very messy, with another four touches."
While Lawrence has qualified a berth for Australia it doesn't mean she will be going to Beijing.
She has to qualify as Australia's fastest competitor in the selection trials early next year.
Kate is one of three sisters from Old Bonalbo who all excel at slalom kayaking after learning the sport on the family farm.