Smith and K4 crew in awesome awakening

Tate Smith, Dave Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear secure gold at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Tate Smith, Dave Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear secure gold at the 2012 Olympic Games.

KAYAKING

Warilla paddler David Smith is on target to complete a stunning international double with the K4 1000m Olympic gold winning crew.

After a low-key year, Smith and teammates Murray Stewart, Jacob Clear and Tate Smith surged back on to the international stage with victory in the third World Cup event in Hungary last weekend, signalling a return to form for the upcoming world championships in August.

Smith is based at the Australian Institute of Sport's European headquarters in northern Italy, and the world championships in Moscow signal the halfway point in the four-year Olympic cycle.

They became the new awesome foursome in London in 2012 when they powered away from their nearest rivals before holding on over the closing stages to secure kayaking's ultimate prize.

However, at the World Cup event in Hungary the crew produce a scorching final 100 metres to snatch a nail-biting victory, displaying their versatility on the international stage in the process.

"With the four-year cycle, you can't be on top of your form all the time, so it's a real balancing act because you don't want to fall away too far either," David's father, Martin, said.

"They were third at the world's last year and, training wise, the race was done on the smell of an oily rag, so that was really encouraging.

"The win in Hungary was really good for their mental state, they're feeling really confident about their form.

"They've taken some down time after the Olympics and regrouped and it's paying off for them now."

Martin said David had been particularly encouraged about their prospects of world championships success because of the way they swooped late in the race to win.

"At about the 650 mark they faded a little, and I was watching it on the internet thinking the wheels might have been falling off," Martin said.

"But the last 200 they really had a kick and came back to win it, which they're really happy about because before that they've been known for their fast starts."

The triumph came just hours after Stewart had won silver in the K1 event after leading for most of the race. He is currently balancing team and solo duties for Australia, with the Olympic selections on the horizon next year.

"If anyone can handle it, it's Murray," Martin said.

"He showed his class there in Hungary.

"There's some great signs, because with the worlds in August, the Olympic qualifiers are coming around very quickly, and somewhere in the back of their minds the boys know making it to Rio to defend their Olympic gold is the ultimate goal."

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