Olympic K4 champion Murray Stewart has thrown down the gauntlet for a return to international K1 action after upsetting Ken Wallace in the national canoe sprint titles in Adelaide.
Stewart continued his great K1 1000m rivalry with 2008 Beijing Games gold medallist Wallace by scoring a clear-cut three-second victory on Thursday morning.
The result reversed 2013’s Australian titles finish, when Wallace then went on to take silver at the world championships, but was the same as 2012 when Stewart was given the chance to double up in both the K1 and K4 Olympic boats.
The South African-born Manly kayaker bombed out in the K1 at the London Games but managed to win gold with K4 1000m crew mates David Smith, Jake Clear and Tate Smith.
After regaining the national title in three minutes 36.12 seconds, Stewart called on selectors to give him the opportunity to race both boats again in 2014’s three-leg World Cup series.
“I think I can do both,” he said. “I tried it out at London but unfortunately I got sick before the regatta, so my results in the K1 did not shape up.
“But I definitely think I can double up, whether it’s the K1/K4 or K2/K4 combo.”
Stewart later combined with Clear to win the K2 national title on Thursday, beating Wallace and David Smith, to clean-sweep the three Olympics events following his crew’s K4 triumph on Wednesday.
Canoeing Australia high-performance director Richard Fox admitted the results gave selectors extra food for thought as they plotted their course to 2014’s world championships, and beyond to the 2016 Rio Games.
Australia can supply two paddlers to World Cup events but only one to the world championships or Olympics.
Meantime, Alana Nicholls has overcome a neck injury to pip fellow London Olympian Naomi Flood by just 10cm – 0.03 secs – in a thrilling final of the women’s K1 500m.