Aussie kayak duo's stunning sprint gold

Young Australian paddlers Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen stunned their more seasoned rivals to win Olympic gold in the K2 1000 metres canoe sprint.

The 22-year-olds had never competed internationally together before but they followed up their Olympic record in the heats by winning the final from German world champions Max Hoff and Jacob Schopf on Thursday.

It's Australia's first gold in the event and second ever in canoe sprint, with Clint Robinson topping the podium in the K1 1000m in 1992.

The previous best in the K2 was a silver in 1988, while Australia had won three bronze with triple medallist Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame third in Rio.

The pair got off to a flying start and led for the entire race, just managing to hold off the charging German pair while the Czech Republic's Radek Slouf and Josef Dostal took bronze

The Australians crossed in three minutes 15.280 seconds, just 0.304 clear of Germany.

Green said it was an "unbelievable" result.

"I didn't want to claim it until I saw our names on the top of the screen, but then I saw this guy (van der Westhuyzen) claim it and I thought we had it so it's unbelievable," Green told Network Seven.

Mentored by Wallace, Green said when he heard the German duo closing he knew it would be tight.

"I didn't want to look but I heard them lift and I just knew that if we just held our boat, if we just held our nerve and do what we do it would pay off," he said.

Green and van der Westhuyzen had surprised themselves by posting an Olympic record in their heat.

Only recently emerged from junior ranks and with international racing curtailed for the past two years by COVID-19, they said after that race they weren't sure how they would stack up.

The pair are based in Queensland, with Cape Town-born van der Westhuyzen moving from South Africa to Australia as a teenager in 2018 to pursue his sprint canoe career.

"I wouldn't want to represent any other country, I'm so proud to be an Australian," van der Westhuyzen told Seven.

"I think just the journey, and the way everybody in this country has backed me and supported me and welcomed me."

New Zealand's Lisa Carrington became her country's most successful Olympian with gold in the women's K1 500m, bringing her career medal haul to six including five gold.

Australia's Alyce Wood finished eighth in her first single Olympic final.

It was Carrington's third Tokyo gold medal after also winning the K1 200m and the K2 500m and she has another medal chance in the K4 500m.

"When you set out to do something, it is such a huge task," Carrington said.

"I just did the best I could, trained incredibly hard and it's just amazing to be able to pull it off."