POWERING AHEAD: The Sunshine Coast’s Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull get down to business at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.
POWERING AHEAD: The Sunshine Coast’s Alyce Burnett and Alyssa Bull get down to business at the Sydney International Regatta Centre. SPORTSCENE

Aussie coach puts Coast pair in frame for Rio Olympics

NATIONAL women's coach David Foureur says Coast kayaking pair Alyssa Bull and Alyce Burnett are on track to compete in next year's Olympic Games after another impressive performance in Penrith yesterday.

The under-23 pair finished just 0.21 seconds outside the qualifying time for the world championships when they finished second behind gun duo Jo Brigden-Jones and Naomi Flood in the K2 500 final at the Grand Prix meet at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.

"They're very much on the path to (Brazil), which is great," Foureur said.

"They had good performances last year in the under-23 world championships and this year they've basically stepped up to a whole new level and they narrowly got beaten by our girls who finished seventh at the senior world championships, so it was a very good performance."

Burnett came third in the K1 500 event at the under-23 world championships last year, and Bull finished fifth in the K2 500 with Cat McArthur. Bull has caught the eye of Foureur, her coach, since quitting a promising career as a surf ironwoman to move to the Gold Coast and focus exclusively on kayaking.

"She is developing rapidly," he said. "She's made a big call not to continue with her ironwoman racing.

"She's fully committed to kayaking and she has come ahead leaps and bounds in the last six to eight weeks."

Australia will take a team of between six and eight female kayakers to this year's world championships, where Olympic spots will be up for grabs.

"This year in Milan, Italy, we have to qualify those boats for (Rio de Janeiro) and with that we go through selections next year at our national championships to select our national Olympic team," Foureur said.

"This year the key is what

ever team we select, they need to go and qualify those boats in Milan this year to qualify them for Rio.

"It's a big year ahead and we've got to select our best team and those girls are certainly on the radar."

THE women's K1 500 and K4 500 finals will be contested today, with racing expected to start at 7am.

Foureur said Burnett and Bull had another chance to qualify at the national championships in Sydney next month.

"Had they won today it would have put them on the senior team straight away but they got beaten by 0.2, which wasn't very much, so they've either got to win an event or be right up there in the rankings," he said.

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