HARD YARDS: Kate Lawrence on her way to victory in Germany.
HARD YARDS: Kate Lawrence on her way to victory in Germany. Northern Star

World cup gold is Kate's consolation

WITH her first ever World Cup gold medal safely stowed away in her kit bag, Old Bonalbo kayaker Kate Lawrence will enter this weekend's pre-world championship event in Spain full of confidence.

Lawrence upset some of her more highly fancied European rivals in Augsburg, Germany, to claim her maiden World Cup title.

In bucketing rain, and cheered on by a small but vocal Aussie contingent, Lawrence came from fifth in the final to win the K1 event.

Kate, who missed out on Olympic qualification earlier in the year to sister Jacqui in the women's K1, said that the gold medal paddle still felt a bit surreal.

“Last week was obviously a dream come true and it still really hasn't sunk in,” Lawrence said.

“Because it was bucketing down with rain the medal ceremony was in the restaurant instead of outside. No-one could hear a thing, and there was no podium, no flags and no national anthem.

“None of that mattered though. To be honest I didn't even register that there was no flag or anthem until all the Aussies started singing the national anthem for me.”

While initially shocked at the result, Lawrence was confident with her form leading into the event.

“I have been sure for a while now that on a good run I have the speed to be up there with the best - to finally pull it off is a damn good feeling,” she said.

“This week is completely different, however, and I want to prove to myself and the other competitors that I can be a regular finalist and continually push for medals at the larger events.”

With the 2008 Beijing Olympics less than a month away, Robin Bell (C1) and Jacqui Lawrence (women's K1) chose to miss this weekend's event, but fellow Olympians Warwick Draper (men's K1) and the C2 combination of Lachine Milne and Mark Bellaire will use the Spanish fixture to fine-tune their preparations.

Canoe kayak national performance director Richard Fox says that the two Olympic crews competing this weekend will be able to work on a variety of aspects in their performance.

“This weekend will provide the C2 and Warwick (Draper) with an extra opportunity to improve their boat speed,” Fox said. “All three guys will benefit from an extra weekend of competition and will be looking for a good performance before they head back to Australia.”

Racing will begin with the qualification runs today.

The semi-finals and final runs conclude the event tomorrow.

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