Belarusians lead canoe-kayak medal charge on Day 8
Belarus paddlers braved stormy skies, turbulent waters and gusting wind to claim two of the day’s four gold medals in the Nanjing 2014 canoe-kayak competition on 24 August.
Kamila Bobr took gold in the women’s C1, while team-mate Stanislau Daineka finished first in the men’s K1.
In the day’s other two events, Moldova’s Serghei Tarnovschi won gold in the men’s C1, while Inna Nikitina finished first for Russia in the women’s K1.
“The waves hit my boat really hard and I found the turns really difficult, and in this weather, the course seemed very, very long,”said Bobr.
The 420m, figure-of-eight course was a new challenge for the paddlers, who typically compete on straight courses of between 200m and 1,000m.
Belarus' Kamila Bobr (centre) is flanked by fellow women's C1 medallists Liudmyla Luzan (left) and Victoria Morales Cazarez
Women’s K1 Nikitina, whose hero is legendary kayaker Birgit Fischer (GER), showed echoes of her idol’s power and form on her way to gold in a time of 1:49.922. She described the win as her “biggest victory by far,” though admitted she had struggled at first to get used to the new distance.
The silver medal in the women’s K1 went to Luca Homonnai (HUN) with a time of 1:51.425.
In women’s C1, Bobr and silver medallist Liudmyla Luzan (UKR) both took the turns too wide, but Bobr’s powerful strokes were unbeatable as she glided to a 2:21.640 finish. Victoria Morales Cazarez (MEX) won the bronze head-to-head race.
There was a tight finish in men’s K1 competition, where Daineka lunged forward and capsized as he crossed the finish line to edge Milan Mozgi (HUN) into second place.
“You can see and hear what I feel. It is nothing but joy and happiness,” Daineka said of Belarus’ second gold medal of the competition.
“I made the time I wanted to make and capsizing at the end was all a part of a trick, a lunge, to make a fast finish and get the gold medal,” he said.
Vladislav Olyenikov (RUS) won the men’s K1 bronze medal race with a time of 1:39.049.
In the men’s C1 final, Tarnovschi recovered well from what had appeared a crucial error coming around turn two. The Moldovan had strayed wide on his first turn, forcing him to take a correcting side stroke which, together with buffeting winds, slowed him to a crawl.
“I had a very bad first turn because of the wind and in the middle I was a buoy behind, so I really needed to do something at the finish,” Tarnovschi said. “I had a lot of water in the boat, several inches deep, but I managed to really lift at the end and get over the line first,” he said.