Day one went to Russia as the host country secured a top three finish in almost every event they competed in. Kicking off the World Cup was the Women’s K1 500m. From start to finish it was a three boat race with the top 3 girls finishing within two seconds of each other.
Russians kick of World Cup with a win
Anastasiya Sergeeva (RUS) came from the middle to deny Zoya Ananchenko (KAZ) a win in the first heat of the day. The performance of Hediye Kazemi was particularly impressive as she was neck and neck with Ananchenko, but was eventually edged out by the Kazakh and finished third.
Inching ever closer to that World Cup gold medal is Australia’s Alana Nicholls who began her World Cup campaign in Poznan, with a 5th place finish in the K1 200m event. In Duisburg however she won 2 medals, a silver in the K1 500m and bronze in the K1 200m. In the 2nd heat of the day Nicholls paddled a close race with Vera Sobetova (RUS). Germany’s Nicole Beck came in 3rd place.
Van Koeverden, Murray win K1 1000m heats
Adam van Koeverden is also still chasing the elusive World Cup gold medal. The Canadian all but glided on the course, comfortably winning his K1 1000m heat, ahead of Pavel Nikolaev and Hendrik Bertz (GER) who came in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Murray Stewart (AUS) led his K1 1000m heat from start to finish but faced a tight battle in the end with Jost Zakrajsek (SLO) and Roman Anoshkin (RUS).
Asked what he thought about the course, van Koeverden said, “It’s an Olympic quality course, the weather is great and I have no complaints”.
“Even if there are only two heats it’s still a challenge, particularly since there is Murray Stewart in the Final as well.”
Stewart reiterated van Koeverden’s view of the course saying, “The venue is great, it has a nice warm up area and I think it is a good venue to paddle at.”
Van Koeverden to race K1 200m
Speaking about his decision to race in the 200m distance van Koeverden said, “I have raced in the 200m before at World Cups and I do it to improve my starts at the Olympic Games. I am taking this World Cup more like a training session.”
Mark Oldershaw continued his fine form comfortably winning his C1 1000m heat. Russia’s Viktor Melantyev came in 2nd place and Jan Vandrey (GER) in 3rd place. Vandrey who is part of Germany’s U23 National Team said after the race said, “The course is good, but I am not a morning person so even if I qualified for the final I think my performance will be better in the Final.”
The other C1 1000m heat went down to the wire as Ilya Shtokalov overcame Erik Leue (GER) in the final 250m to take the win. Looking at the times posted in both heats, one can conclude that it will be close Final between the top three boats from each heat.
Photo finish to determine C2 1000m
A photo finish was needed to determine the winner of the C2 1000m heat. The Brazilian boat of Ronilson Matias De Oliveira and Erlon De Souza gave an outstanding performance, the duo exploded out of the starting line up and went unchallenged for most of the race, however the Czech boat of Filip Dvorak and Jaroslav Radon continued to close the gap up until the final 100m when they were on par with the Brazilians.
Eventually the Czech claimed the win and will go directly into tomorrow’s finals along with Vladimir Petrov and Yevgeniy Kovalenko who came in 3rd place. The top three boats in the second heat of the C2 1000m posted times that were almost 10 seconds ahead of the 1st heat with two Russian boats making the top three: Alexei Korovashkov and Ilya Pervukhin, Pavel Petrov and Alexey Bovdurets were 1st and 3rd respectively. The Azerbaijan duo of Sergiy Beyugliy and Prokopenko broke the Russians up coming in 2nd place.
Colourful Opening Ceremony
The race day was briefly stopped for a colourful Opening Ceremony with dancers and speeches by the All Russian Canoe Federation’s President, Evgenii Arkhipov and the Minister of Sport. Richard Fox, ICF 2nd Vice President officially opened the event.
Murray Stewart went unchallenged in his second race of the day. He was a full boat ahead of the competition. Asked who his primary challengers would be for the 500m and 1000m Finals Stewart said, “For the 500m we will have to wait and see, but for the 1000m it is definitely Adam as he is in good form this year, and last, and he will be the man to beat.
“This World Cup is good to put together some good races and get some good results.”
The competition will be broadcast live tomorrow by ESPN (USA), Canal Plus (France) and SPORTSNET (Canada) amongst others. Please note that you can also watch the event live on the ICF video website: http://eurovision.digotel.com/icf/index.html
Results can be accessed http://results.imas-sport.com/imas/regatta.php?competition=wettkampf_3