08.07.2008 – Article by Canoeing Australia from the Official website of the 2008 Australian Olympic Team

Robin Bell and Kate Lawrence have won their first World Cup events after two great displays in the final of the C1 and Women’s K1 at World Cup 3 in Augsburg, Germany.

Bell, who had picked up a silver medal at World Cup 1, also added the title of World Cup champion to his list of accolades in what capped off an excellent day for the Australian.

Bell led into the final by over a second and a half and negotiated the course with supreme confidence to record a combined time of 203.67 He finished over two seconds clear of Tomas Indruch (CZE), while Krzysztof Bieryt (POL) won the bronze medal.

“It’s been such a long time coming and I have been close on so many occasions,” Bell said.

“It’s great to win one and walking away from the World Cup season with two medals is a good result heading into Beijing.

“The idea of these three World Cups was to get some good race practice ahead of the Olympics and getting the win is a bonus.”

Bell, who finished fourth in 2004, will now be one of the favourites along with two time Olympic champion Tony Estanguet (FRA) and current World Champion and 1996 Olympic Champion, Michal Martikan (SVK).

Meanwhile Lawrence produced the upset of the event with a stunning performance in the Women’s K1 to claim the gold medal.

She was 5th heading into the final and began her run as a massive storm broke over the Augsburg course.

She produced a clean run to finish with a combined time of 216.01 and finish ahead of raging favourite from Slovakia, Jana Duktova. Marie Rihoskova of the Czech Republic was in third place.

“I stil really can’t believe it,” Lawrence said. “I went into the final run just thinking about my race plan and paddled a clean run. It is an amazing feeling. I can’t describe it.”

Lawrence’s sister, Jacqui, will represent Australia at the Olympics after winning the selection trials earlier in 2008.

It is the first time in Australian history that two gold medals have been won at an international event and provides the perfect end to the World Cup season.