Bird Returns to World Cup Competition

Canoe|Kayak - Sprint | Published: Thu 8 March 2018

Steve Bird will make his return to international competition in 2018 after he earned selection for the ICF World Cup series following a strong performance at last weekend’s Selection Trials in Penrith.


The dual Olympian recorded a comfortable win in the K1 200 final to secure a representative spot on the Australian team after the 29 year-old took a sabbatical from competition in 2017, post Rio Games.


Despite his vast experience in the sport, Bird admitted his return to competition had reacquainted him with the old competition nerves in the lead up to his race.


"It’s been an interesting build up for me having taken a year off. I had, a little bit, forgotten about the feelings building up the night before but my preparation for this race and weekend was fantastic and I couldn’t have done anything more to put myself in the best position. But ultimately my preparations are geared towards the World Championships in August, so I’m really relieved to get on the team with hopefully a bit more to come,” he said.


Bird won the final in a time of 36.14 nearly half a second clear of Matt Goble in second. Bird said he would look forward to being on a representative team with the South Australian for the first time in eight years.


"We are a really nice racing group in the 200m and we respect each other very much. I haven’t been on the team with Matt Goble, who came second, since 2010 and we are really good friends and it will be fantastic to go touring with him. So it’s a nice space to be involved in whether you are successful or not we all support each other really well.”


Gold Coast based West Aussie Jamie Roberts is also expected to travel with the Australian team after she posted a series of strong results in Penrith.


She was second in the K1 200 behind Alyce Burnett and combined with Cat McArthur for second place in the K2 500.


Action returns to Penrith and the Sydney International Regatta Centre this weekend for the 2018 Australian Canoeing National Sprint Championships.


ICF World Cup racing will commence in May, with Hungary, Germany and Portugal hosting the three rounds.

Photos: Lawrence Greed