New Zealand's Lisa Carrington is targeting a fourth Olympics as she aims to qualify for Paris 2024 ©ICF

Canoeists moved closer to sealing their places at next year's Olympics and Paralympics following the qualifying heats at the International Canoe Federation Canoe Sprint World Championships in Duisburg.

New Zealand’s five-time Olympic champion Lisa Carrington was among those to star on the opening day on German waters as she competed in the K1 500 metres category.

It was a solid showing from Carrington who is aiming to compete at her fourth Olympics having struck gold at London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

"I just really enjoyed being out on the water," said Carrington.

"It was really beautiful out there.

"I just think to be able to keep paddling and still be good enough to be here, I’m super grateful for that."

Double world champion Jakob Thordsen of Germany looked in fine form in the men’s K1 1,000m heats as he posted the fastest time.

There were also quick times from Romania’s Cătălin Chirilă, Cuba’s Yarisleidis Cirilo, Canadian duo Sloan MacKenzie and Katie Vincent and four-time world champion and double Olympic medallist Fernando Pimenta of Portugal.

Three-time Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath of Australia impressed on the opening day of competition in Duisburg ©ICF
Three-time Paralympic champion Curtis McGrath of Australia impressed on the opening day of competition in Duisburg ©ICF

"I think the quota for Paris is the most important thing right now, because we have six places and we know there are a lot of good athletes with very good performances, and I want to fight for this," said Pimenta.

Australia’s Curtis McGrath laid down a marker with an impressive performance on his return to racing.

Despite taking much of last year off, the Australian demonstrated great pace as he set a world-best time in his heat of the men’s KL2 category.

"It’s nice to be back, in a way its hard to get back into it physically, but mentally you just want to get back into it again," said the three-time Paralympic champion.

"Time away from something makes you grow fonder of it.

"I was actually really nervous, but its nice to go straight through to the final, it’s a little less work."

Other Para canoeists to post fast times in their qualifying heats were British duo Charlotte Henshaw and Emma Wiggs and Peter Kiss of Hungary.

"I’ve been a bit sick, but my preparations have been good," said Kiss who finished the men’s KL1 competition quickest.

"I’m really excited and looking forward to hopefully next year.

"But I have a lot of training before Paris.

"Of course I feel some pressure, but I’ve enjoyed this feeling."