Umina’s Jemma Smith was a part of the contingent of Paddle Australia athletes that took out the 2019 Asia Pacific Sprint Cup after a gruelling three-day campaign on New Zealand’s Lake Karapiro over May 10-12.
The Asia Pacific Cup is a regatta for junior and developing canoe sprint athletes in the Under-16, Under-18 and Under-21 age groups.
It is the result of an international collaboration between Paddle Australia, Canoe Racing New Zealand and the Japan Canoe Federation, aimng to create an event for developing athletes in the Asia Pacific region.
Team Australia won 30 gold, 26 silver and 17 bronze medals to win the Asia Pacific Cup ahead of New Zealand’s canoe sprint team in second and Japan following in third.
Jemma, who is a member of the Avoca Kayak Club, went into the competition on a high after being elected regatta team captain along with fellow Avoca club member Fletcher Cunningham.
She contested the Women’s Under-21 Division for team Australia and earned several medals during her campaign.
Jemma’s first medal came on day one in the Under-21 WK4 500 where she combined her talents with Alicia Fay, Lucinda Kelly and Kailey Harlen to take the gold.
Jemma then took the bronze in the Under-21 WK1 500 and ended day one with another team-up with Lucinda Kelly to take out the silver in the Under-21 WK2 500.
Day two saw Jemma again join Lucinda Kelly and team Australia’s Reece Bacchus and Ethan Neville to claim the bronze in the Under-21 Mixed WK4 200.
Jemma then placed seventh in the Under-21 MK4 200 final before another team up with Lucinda Kelly saw the pair take out fourth in the Under-21 WK2 200 to wrap up her day two.
The third and final day of competition saw Jemma, Lucinda Kelly, Jenaya Massie and Charli Smyth, open the scoreboard for team Australia with a silver in the Under-21 WK4 500.
She then teamed up with Fletcher, Ethan Neville, Lucinda Kelly, Jakob Hammond and Yasemin Ray to end her run in the Cup and take the gold in the Under-21 Mixed Relay 200.
All 34 members of team Australia medalled at the event which saw them take out this year’s Cup, retaining it for the second year running.
Jemma’s next event for Paddle Australia will be the Under-23 World Championships which commence in Pitesti, Romania, in August.
Media release, 15 May 2019
Phil Jones, Paddle Australia