Bendigo paddlers excel at Australian Wildwater Championships at Eildon

BENDIGO paddlers have returned home from the Australian Wildwater Championships at Eildon as one of the most successful clubs with 20 medals.

An outstanding performance was highlighted by nine gold medals and a fifth national championship win by Maddie Batters, who retained her title in the open women’s rapid sprint.

Cara Humphrey scored gold in the schools sprint and doubled up in the open teams sprint with Imogen Douglass and Ashlee Illot.

Douglass won dual gold in the under-18 female classic and sprint to finish as the overall female national champion, schools champion and fastest girl.

The young kayaker said she was thrilled with her performance.

“I came away really happy with my first sprint run,” she said.

“I picked a good line through the rapids and stuck with it.

“I finished off the race with a lot of power in my strokes and over the finish line.”

James Humphry won gold in the under-18 classic and followed up with silver in the sprint and open teams sprint with Casey Haynes, Al Anderson and James Humphry.

Illot picked up a trio of golds in under-16 sprint and classic and open teams.

Also among the medals were Casey Haynes (silver in the under-23 rapid sprints and bronze), Baelea Collins (silver in the classic and bronze in the school sprint) and Charlie Wardrop (bronze in his favourite under-18 classic).

Paddlers competed in sprints, a 3.5km classic and teams events.

Avoca Canoe Club stamped itself as a powerhouse with three standout paddlers, including national champion Rob McIntyre.