The NZ Canoe Sprint Team commence their Olympic battle tomorrow night with Ben Fouhy first in the starting blocks in the K1 1000m at 8.30pm NZ time, followed closely by the K2 pairing of Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald with K2 1000m racing starting at 9.18pm.
Both sets of semis will be raced the same day, less than 90 minutes after the heats so the boys are going to have to dig deep to recover quickly and perform well in the semis.
Paula Kearns, CEO of Canoe Racing New Zealand says "It's exciting to have Ben, Steve and Darryl lead out the Olympic sprint kayak team as the racing gets underway. All our Olympic athletes have spent thousands of hours training for this moment and we have worked hard to ensure our high performance programme has supported them so that when they get to the starting gates they have the best opportunity of success."
Both Ben and Steve are Olympic veterans and have had plenty of time to prepare Darryl for his first appearance at this pinnacle event.
Ben is currently New Zealands most successful competing kayaker having been a world champion, world record holder and Olympic silver medallist, all in his specialist K1 1000m event. The 2012 London Olympics will be his third Olympic Games.
Steve is the son of one of New Zealands most medalled Olympic athletes, Ian Ferguson, so has had a paddle in his hands from an early age. However, Steve attended his first Olympics in 2000 as a swimmer and from 2004 as a kayaker. The 2012 London Olympics will be his fourth Olympic Games.
Darryl started kayaking as winter training for surf ski paddling but fell in love with canoe sprint and hasnt looked back since. He trains at Poverty Bay Kayak Club, which is headed by New Zealand Olympic medallist Alan Thompson. The 2012 London Olympics will be Darryls first Olympic experience.