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Olympic champ hits top gear ahead of Paris with a World Cup gold medal.

Jean van der Westhuyzen go pro
Tokyo Olympic Gold medalist Jean van der Westhuyzen

Bond’s Olympic champion Jean van der Westhuyzen has signalled his intent to go back-to-back in Paris by claiming gold at the 2024 Canoe Sprint World Cup in Szeged, Hungary.

Meanwhile younger brother and Bachelor of Actuarial Science student Pierre van der Westhuyzen took home a silver medal as part of the Australian K4 500 team.  

The brothers were members of a strong Australian team that showed they will be among our best medal chances at the Paris Olympics after snaring five at the Canoe Sprint World Cup.

Pierre van der Westhuyzen will join his older brother in Paris for his first Olympics after earning selection in the Australian Sprint Canoe team that will race in front of an estimated 24,000-strong crowd at the Vaires-Sur-Marne Nautical Stadium on a stretch of the famous Seine River that flows through the centre of Paris.  

Tokyo Olympic Gold medalists Jean van der Westhuyzen and Tom Green were dominant in the final of the men’s K2 500 as they stormed home ahead of Portugal’s World Champions Joao Ribeiro and Messias Baptista in second and Spain’s Adrian del Rio and Marcus Cooper in third.

The pair won over 1000m in Tokyo and have now converted to the new Olympic distance of 500m for the K2. 

“It’s been hard the last two years trying to figure out what kind of race plan is going to work for us, and we’ve had some close races and some races where we’ve been pretty disappointed,” Bachelor of Business graduate van der Westhuyzen said.

“So to have a good race, this year, leading into the Games it’s great, but we’ve still got weeks of hard work to go so that we can be even better in Paris.”  

Pierre van der Westhuyzen
Pierre Van der Westhuyzen

In the men’s K4 500 final, the Australian crew of Pierre van der Westhuyzen, Riley Fitzsimmons, Jackson Collins and Noah Havard finished with the silver medal.

The event has been dominated by Germany and Spain and after finishing fifth at the 2023 World Championships, the Aussies were determined to put their best foot forward at their first and final regatta before the Paris Games.

“We won our heat and were lucky enough to get straight through to the final,” Pierre van der Westhuyzen said. 

“We were put into lane five, in the middle, and were right in the race from the start. We raced our race plan and it worked out … we won a silver medal so we’re pretty stoked with that.” 

 

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