Nicholas impresses at North Island Champs

Saturday 22 May 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Paddling, Sports

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Nicholas impresses at North Island Champs
Cook Islands canoe slalom athlete Jane Nicholas. ICF/21050740

Kawerau in the North Island of New Zealand yesterday turned on a spectacular winter’s day for the North Island Championships ensuring some great racing from Cook Islands’ Olympic boat Jane Nicholas and the New Zealand Olympic team.

Triple NZ Olympian Luuka Jones dominated both the kayak and canoe classes for women, with Cook Islands’ Jane Nicholas finishing in second ahead of the other Kiwis in the K1 women’s event. In the canoe class NZ High Performance athlete Hannah Thomas just edged ahead of Nicholas by one second leaving the Cook Islander to settle for third place.

“I really enjoyed racing over the weekend, I felt good and in touch with the water and it reflected in how I was paddling. I have made some strong improvements over the last couple of months and feel very positive about my trajectory towards the games,” said Nicholas after the race.

Double Olympian Mike Dawson, who is Nicholas’ coach, said: “Jane paddled really well at the North Island Championships in her build up to the Olympic Games.

"It’s great to see the progress she has been making in training, evident in the racing over the weekend producing good quality race runs with clean fast times in both canoe and kayak ahead of plans to compete at the World Cups and the Olympics Games.”

Nicholas, who is a doctor by profession, qualified for the K1 spot in Spain in 2019. She went back to her hospital job post lockdown in New Zealand when the Olympics were postponed.

Olympic Solidarity support has enabled her to take a break from her medical career to train as a fulltime athlete.  Nicholas has based herself in Auckland so she can train alongside the NZ squad at Vector Wero White Water Centre under Dawson’s tutelage.

“It’s only 70 days until my race at the Olympics and I still have plenty of work to do in this time but I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

“In these Covid times the Olympics are going to look quite different to previous years however I’m sure it will be an incredible and unique experience.”

  • Roly Rolleston