Kelly Allen And Alana Nichols Advance To Paracanoe Finals

By USA Canoe/Kayak | Sept. 14, 2016, 11:01 a.m. (ET)
Alana Nichols competes in the women's KL2 race at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Sept. 14, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

RIO DE JANEIRO - Rough water and wind made for some tough racing condition at the Lagoa Stadium as Team USA took to the for Paracanoe's Paralympic Games debut. On the day, two Americans would advance into Thursday's final.

Coming into these games with hopes of winning another Paralympic medal and another event, five-time Paralympian Alana Nichols knew she would need to be on top of her game with the difficult conditions. After advancing through her Women's KL2 heat, Nichols did just enough in her semifinal race to finish 4th and advance on to tomorrow's final. On her racing today: “My race went better than the first. I think I had those first-race jitters going for the first one, and this semifinal felt a lot better and I’m just giving it everything I have. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

In the Women's KL3 event, Kelly Allen qualified herself a spot in tomorrow's final with a 4th place finish in her semifinal. Upon completing her semifinal race, Allen was unsure whether she had finished high enough to advance until she was congratulated by one of her competitors: “I had no idea where I finished. My plan coming in here was just to do the best I can, and that’s all I can ask of myself. And when I initially finished I didn’t even look at the times, I couldn’t see anything anywhere. I couldn’t really see the boats to my sides, I try not to pay attention to anyone around me so I didn’t know what place I came in. And then, actually, the sweetest girl next to me was like ‘good job, you made it!’ So I didn’t know how I did until a couple minutes after the race.”

After encountering stability issues earlier this week in training, Ann Yoshida fell victim to the rough conditions and capsized during her semifinal race. “It was just windy. It was conditions I wasn’t… I struggled this week, actually", said Yoshida. "The conditions were a little bumpy so I struggled to stay up. There’s a fine line, when you’re an A class, between balance and speed. If you go for too much speed, your balance may go off a little bit, and I went over the balance.” As a result of capsizing, Yoshida did not finish (DNF) her semifinal, bringing an end to her Paralympic competition. 

Thursday's schedule features the finals for all categories.

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