Paddlers take centre stage at Puerto Madero
After four days of rowing, on Friday 12 October the action at Urban Park shifted to canoeing and kayaking. And huge crowds, spurred by Argentinian interest, gathered to see Eszter Rendessy of Hungary claim the first gold in women’s K-1 sprint, while Kazakhstan’s Dias Bakhraddin clinched victory in the men’s C-1 competition.
Dreams come true
“Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine winning this gold, and I was very nervous,” said Rendessy who overcame Katarina Pecsukova of Slovakia in the final, clocking a time of 1:46.21 to top the podium.
“I will take away great memories from Buenos Aires. The Argentinians are very friendly and welcoming people.”
The bronze medal in the women’s K-1 went to Kazakhstan’s Stella Sukhanova, who was too strong for her German adversary Gina Zint.
In the men’s competition, Bakhraddin defeated Islomjon Abdusalomov from neighbouring Uzbekistan with a time of 1:54.66, while the bronze went to Jiri Minarik of the Czech Republic who got the better of Hungary’s Balasz Palla.
“We want to thank the fans for their support, and we will be leaving Argentina very, very happy, because we managed to win two medals for our country,” said the newly crowned C-1 champion.
For local canoeist Joaquín Lukac there were mixed feelings. Lukac started in 10th position and ended finishing 7th in the repechage. “I expected something much better than this,” he admitted. “I was hoping to fight to reach the podium. But the best thing of all is to have all my family and my friends here.”
Argentina’s other hope Rebeca D’Estéfano finished eighth in the women’s K-1, losing out to Pecusova in the quarter finals. “I’m very happy with my performance against the Slovak,” she said afterwards.
“I clocked my best time and wasn’t that far away from victory. After the YOG I’m going to continue working hard and building on all the experience I’ve gained here.”