The first day of the Canoe Sprint competition had the crowd at Eton Dorney on their feet as racing got underway in the final week of the Olympic Games.
Men's K1 1000m
There were no surprises in the Men’s K1 1000m as all the medal contenders had an easy run into the semifinals where the first four qualified for Wednesday's final. Current World Champion Adam VAN KOEVERDEN (CAN) led the first semifinal from the start to finish with Rene POULSEN (DEN), silver medallist from the 2012 European Championship being taken over in a last effort by Eirik Veras LARSEN (NOR).
Tim BRABANTS (GBR) didn’t have the easiest semi-final race; the Beijing 2008 Olympic champion faced serious competition from Miroslav KIRCHEV (BUL) and only qualified for the final on the finish line.
Double World Champion Max HOFF (GER) showed he is still a force to be reckoned with after many years at the helm of the sport. The German led from the start and held it till the end despite a late comeback attempt from Aleh YURENIA (BLR) who finished in second place. Anders GUSTAFSSON (SWE) secured his spot close behind the leaders while the young Spaniard Francisco CUBELOS SANCHEZ also secured a spot in the final.
Men's C1 1000m
The Men’s C1 1000m heats held little if no surprise at all as all the medal contenders all went through the motions, saving their strength for the semifinals.
In the first semifinal, Attila VAJDA (HUN) was quickest off the start and led for almost all the way but eventually finished second behind the European Champion Sebastian BRENDEL (GER). Athens 2004 gold medallist and Beijing 2008 silver medallist David CAL FIGUEROA (ESP) came from the back to take third place ahead of Vadim MENKOV (UZB) in fourth.
In one of the most interesting races of the day, Mathieu GOUBEL (FRA) and Mark OLDERSHAW (CAN) went head to head from the start of their semifinal race, with the Frenchman claiming the victory in the end. Ilia SHTOKALOV (RUS) followed close behind to secure third and Aliaksandr ZHUKOUSKI (BLR) took fourth on top of the finish line to deny Jose CRISTOBAL (MEX) the last place in the final.
Men’s K2 1000m
Beijing 2008 Olympic champions Martin HOLLSTEIN/Andreas IHLE (GER) and European Champions Rudolf DOMBI/Roland KOKENY (HUN) secured their places in the final after winning the heats.
Markus OSCARSSON/Henrik NILSSON (SWE) kept a steady pace all through their semifinal race and were followed closely by the Australian and New Zealand duos of Dave SMITH/Ken WALLACE and Darryl FITZGERALD/Steven FERGUSON, positions that would remain till the finish.
Belgium had an accelerated start taking the lead at the beginning, but by the 500m mark the 2011 World Champions Peter GELLE/Erik VLCEK (SVK) overcame the duo to win the race. Fernando PIMENTA/Emanuel SILVA (POR) sat comfortably behind the Slovakians in second place while the Russians Ilya MEDVEDEV/Anton RYAKHOV in third denied Denmark the chance to compete for the medals.
Women's K4 500m
Hungary and Germany qualified directly to the final after winning their heats. Portugal, who came second behind the Germans, also secured a direct ticket into the final posting the second best time. With only five places remaining in the final, Poland took it hard from the start to win the semifinal in a world and Olympic best time of 1:30.338. Belarus were second and Russia third. Great Britain had a slow start but finished fourth with the French in the fifth qualifying place for the final.
Tomorrow’s competition begins at 09h30 and Men’s K4 1000m heats.
For all results click here: www.sportscene.tv/flatwater/canoe-sprint/result-archive/2012-london-olympic-games1