Kate Lawrence is hoping for a turnaround in fortune at tomorrow’s K1 Olympic qualifiers after an unfortunate 2011.
Kate Lawrence is hoping for a turnaround in fortune at tomorrow’s K1 Olympic qualifiers after an unfortunate 2011. Balint Vekassy

Sisters face off for Olympic spot

FOUR of Australia's leading kayakers will take part but just one Olympic spot will be up for grabs.

The margin for error will be tiny - slip up and lose one second and a green and gold singlet could be lost.

Two former Old Bonalbo residents, sisters Kate and Ros Lawrence will be part of this tricky scenario tomorrow in the K1 (slalom) division at the Australian Open at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium in Sydney.

This will be one of three races that will determine who will qualify for the London Olympic Games from July 27 to August 12.

The final two Olympic qualifiers will be at the Oceania Championships also at Penrith from February 24-26.

NSW's Jessica Fox and Victoria's Sarah Grant will be the other two kayakers gunning for selection.

The Australian Open offers are a shot at redemption for Kate Lawrence who had a disappointing season in 2011, failing to make the national team for the first time in seven years.

A cruel twist of fate meant she finished fourth at the Australian Open, restricting her to just four international events last year.

"I got penalised for touching a pole and had two seconds added on to my time which is a lot," the 28-year-old said. "I was in first place before that happened so it just shows that if you make a small mistake it can cost you."

It was not only last year that Lawrence suffered a setback.

In 2008 she was pipped by her older sister Jacqui for an Olympic spot in Beijing.

Jacqui won silver at the Chinese Games.

"We were on equal points (for wins) after the races so the judges had to go back to the first race to decide who would go through," Kate Lawrence said.

"Jacqui won that which meant I finished second and missed out.

"So going up against Ros this time around is a bit like deja vu."

Lawrence believes missing last year's national team could be a blessing in disguise.

"The same thing happened to Jacqui in 2007 then she had a great 2008," she said.

Younger sister Ros, 22, enjoyed a stellar 2011 on the C1 (canoe slalom) scene - she won the overall World Cup gong and took out the wildwater sprint and slalom world championships.

She said she is ready to convert that strong C1 form to the kayak discipline.

"Last year gave me a lot of confidence, I know how to race well," she said.

"At the last National event just one second separated all four of us.

"But it won't be that close this time around because of the pressure of trying to get an Olympic spot.

"Hopefully I'm not one of the competitors that will feel that pressure ... I can't wait to race."



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