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Aussie Olympic champions make statement with K2 500 win

Olympic gold medallists Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen have made a statement ahead of the Paris Olympics with a dominant win in the men's K2 500 final at the Canoe Sprint World Cup and Paracanoe World Championships in Hungary.

The Australian duo found the right race formula at Szeged on Saturday as they stormed home to win ahead of Portugal's world champions Joao Ribeiro and Messias Baptista with Spaniards Adrian del Rio and Marcus Cooper in third.

Green and van der Westhuyzen famously won gold in the K2 1000  at the Tokyo Olympics but savoured this win at the shorter distance.

"We've lined up in this event so many times, and we've been on the podium before but we hadn't got that top step yet, so our patience has paid off today," Green said.

"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,"' 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," he said.

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

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.

"It's been a pretty long runway into this World Cup - the four of us have come a really long way from where we were last year so it's a good little confidence boost, this result, and the next 12 weeks are going to be really important," said two-time Olympian Fitzsimmons.

"It lets us know that we can do it, we're right there in the medals, and it's going to make us really hungry as we continue to build into Paris," he said.

In the Paracanoe world titles, Curtis McGrath backed up winning his 12th world championships title on Friday in the kayak by claiming bronze in the men's VL3 200 final.

"This world championships has been really hard racing, I've really had to work hard to get onto the podium…it's really tightened up and there's some really good competition out there," McGrath said.

After winning his maiden world last year in Germany, two-time Paralympian Dylan Littlehales finished second in the men's KL3 200 final, taking silver.

Super mum Alyce Woods made her return to the women's K1 1000 podium, winning gold for the first time since her 2017 world championship title.

"I'm very happy with that result, I haven't done the 1000 metres in a long time. I won worlds in 2017, so it's good to be back," Wood said.

The Aussie contingent will return to the water for the final day of racing on Sunday.