Saturday, 28 April 2012

Brazil, Panamerican Sprint champion at Rio de Janeiro

Last weekend it was held at Rio de Janeiro, at the venue that will be olympic in 2016, the Panamerican Sprint Chamionship, where Brazil claimed nations title over Argentina and Chile. In addition, Brazil also took gold in future paralympic discipline of Paracanoe.

During three days, 150 paddlers from eight countries (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Canada, Ecuador, Venezuela and Puerto Rico) competed at Lake Rodrigo de Freitas. The main stars of the event were the Brazilian C2 of Erlon Silva and Ronilson Oliveira, who won both 1.000 (discipline where they will be representing Brazil at London's Games) and 200 with a comfortable difference over Chile and Venezuela. As Oliveira said, "every competition is a step more in our evolution and these championships have being a great test in our preparation for London". The couple will start in May, as many other Americans qualyfied for London, their European tour which includes the three World Cups at Poznan, Duisburg and Moscow and will finish in June with a stage in Portugal.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ed McKeever

Here we present today a video about Ed McKeever, one of the big favourites to be the first olympic champion over 200 metres in History, in close fight with Semionovski and other stars of the maximum speed in canoeing.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Maximilian Benassi to paddle K1 1.000 for Italy at Poznan

After the first Italian national trial facing the preolympic race at Poznan next May, who took part at the Idroscalo Dam in Milano, the favourite Maximilian Benassi got the place at the K1 1.000 to defend Italy's options for the Olympics, to be determined in just three weeks.

The bronze medalist over 5.000 metres at the last World Championships in Szeged 2011 didn't give any chance to his rivals, despite the injury he was suffering since the winter stage of the Italian Team in Australia, which ended in a right arm inflammation. It took four weeks of intensive phisiotherapy to reduce it, but finally suceeded and the paddler of the Círcolo Aniene claimed victory over the other three contestants, who were Alberto Richetti, Nicola Ripamonti and Mattia Colombi.

On the same milanese course, the second trial will be held next May 5th and 6th, to finish completing the Italian Team to try to get the Olympic berths at Poznan.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Jonas Saelens and Lize Broekx, Belgian Champions on 5.000 metres

Christoph Bittner, Belgium

The first big race weekend in Belgium is a fact. The season started with the Belgian Nationals 5000m at the channel Kortrijk-Bossuit at the Harelbeekse Kanovereniging nearby Kortrijk. About more than 100 athletes showed up to fight for the title. The big guns like Laurens Pannecoucke, Wouter D’Haene and Olivier Cauwenberghs were not present because they had to follow their own training schedule which didn’t allow them to do a 5 km race. Even the Be-Gold team (Jonas Saelens, Toon Broekx, Lize Broekx, Wiliam Peters, Jonathan Delombaerde…) were allowed to do just one race over the whole weekend. The starting list lost a bit of his glamour but the sub top could show their skills this weekend.

Be-Gold team member Jonas Saelens started as the favorite in the K1 5000m. Other big favorites were Tuur Bettens (KSKZ), Senne Versmissen (TKC) and Vincent Naert (KSKZ). Over 40 seniors tried their luck to win a medal. During the first 200m Jonas Saelens took the lead together with a group of ten. The sprint for the first turn between Saelens, Bettens and Naert ended in a small tragedy for KSKZ.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Manuel Busto, winner at the Waterland Marathon

Last weekend was held at Amsterdam, organised by the KV Viking Amsterdam (club of the great Edwin de Nijs), the Waterland Marathon, competition included in the ICF World Classic Marathon Series. In a chilly but sunny day, the channels around the dutch city were the scene for a high quality race, where some of the greatests marathon paddlers came to fight for one of the first victories of the season.

© Nico Jankowski
From the start itself, the dutch Robin Koenders took the lead and set the pace, having on the wash a bunch of paddlers including three world champions, like they are Manuel Busto, Istvan Salga and Jorge Alonso, not to mention the always strong René Olsen. Finally Koenders felt the pressure that he was putting to himself with his pace and left the lead, where the two Spaniards managed to make a smaller group by tightening the rope. Just five members kept on the fight, including Busto, Alonso, Salga and the Danish Olsen and Nicolai Blach. These last two paddlers fell off the group and were paddling behind for a few kilometres, but finally René Olsen managed to come back while Blach had to give up and faced a solo paddle to the finish line.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Francisco Cubelos will be the Spanish K1 1.000 at the preolympic in Poznan. Craviotto and Saies, to fight for the K1 200

The Spanish Verducido Dam has seen this last weekend the young star Francisco "Paco" Cubelos earning the K1 1.000 place for the Spanish National Team trying to get the olympic berths in play at Poznan in May.

Cubelos, Peña and Cosgaya finishing in 7 tenths of a second
In a cold, rainy and windy weekend, many races were on the water along these two days, where the Spanish 1.000 metres Cup was held. But one of them was truly expected, as the K1 final was also the National Team Trial for the 1.000. If Francisco Cubelos or Íñigo Peña happened to win, they would get directly the place to fight in Poznan Preolympic Trial and avoiding further trials with a third paddler. And it happened, as the got first and second places, in a close finish where Diego Cosgaya also appeared to finally earn the bronze medal. Only 4 tenths separated Cubelos and Peña (picture above), while Cosgaya arrived 3 tenths later. Cubelos' victory was a truly morale booster, as he had to squeeze himself to the limit to beat Peña and Cosgaya, resulting in going down the barrier of the 3'30", stopping the clocking in 3'29"750.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Adam van Koeverden

We continue today with the videos of the big stars called to sparkle at the Summer Olympic Games at London 2012. Adam van Koeverden is the current K1 1.000 world champion after a terrific performance last year at Szeged. All those who still have that race in mind have to consider him one of the top favourites to the assault of the olympic title that Tim Brabants will defend at home. The Canadian, fun and playful in the video, on the other hand shows his determination during competition, a determination that could make him taste the olympic glory for the second time, after his gold medal in Athens 2004 at the extinguished K1 500.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Spain has decided the K2 and C2 to go for the Olympic berths

After the first day of national trials in Spain to choose the paddlers who will fight for the olympic berths at the European Preolympic at Poznan (Poland), the K2 and the C2 are already decided. The Verducido Dam has seen closed races in a chilly rainy morning, but the contestants have given a true spectacle to the last metre of the course. In K2, the defending couple, Javier Hernanz and Diego Cosgaya, have set the best time, stopping the clock in 3'22" and avoiding that way a second race in case they have lost, so they have earned the right to be the Spanish contestants at Poznan. In second position arrived Víctor Rodríguez and Diego Piña (3'24"), who were a serious menace through the first three quartes of the race, head by head in the lead, but couldn't keep the winners pace over the las 200 metres. Third place went to Emilio Merchán and Pablo Baños (3'26").

Twenty minutes later it was the time for the C2, with five boats on the start line. It was a direct final, so the winner would earn the place for Poznan with no second leg possible.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Belgian Nationals to celebrate this next weekend

Christoph Bittner, Belgium

Next April 14-15 the first Belgian Championships of the season will take place over the distances of 2.000 and 5.000 metres for all the categories in K1, K2 and K4. Despite of important absences, like Laurens Pannecoucke and Wouter d’Haene, the starting list includes most of the first line Belgian paddlers to fight for the first titles of the season. As those being part of the National Team are allowed just to paddle in one race, the field is open for new becomers to fight for the medals on every distance and boat, so excitement is assured all over the weekend.

At this link you can check the full program and starting list of the Championships.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Eirik Verås Larsen

The Olympic Games are approaching and meanwhile most of the paddlers have to go through tough national trials and then preolympic qualifiers with just some quota places on the table, some others already did their homework during last year's World Champs in Szeged and have earned their right to fight for the medals at Eton Dorney in August. That's the case of Eirik Verås Larsen, Olympic Champion over 1.000 metres at Athens 2004 and who closely saw how Tim Brabants broke the Norwegian dictatorship over that distance for the last two decades. Natural successor of the great Knut Holmann, Eirik shows up his feelings on the course in this nice video.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Birgit Fischer's olympic dream comes to an end

Birgit Fischer, at the press conference in Duisburg
We started this year 2012 with news about the comeback of legend Birgit Fischer trying to qualify for her seventh Olympic Games at London. But this weekend, in a press conference from Duisburg, where Germany Olympic trials started on Saturday, she has announced her refusal after being discovered heart arrythmias during the winter training. Doctors treating the eight times olympic gold medalist said that she will need specific treatment not compatible with the elite training she was carrying.

A dissapointed Fischer appeared in front of the media last Friday to refuse his olympic try, that would have made even bigger her impressive career, including 6 olympic Games (could have been seven, because of the boicot of former RDA to Los Angeles '84), 8 gold medals (at 18 years old the first one, 42 the last one) and 4 silvers, as well as several world and european championships.

But German Canoeing didn't stop after this sad news and the Duisbourg venue had great races this weekend under a very cold weather. They were the first national trials to make the olympic team and despite of important absences, like Nicole Reinhardt and the K4 component Paul Mittelstedt, both world champions and having a fever episode, some other great paddlers take an advantage in the tough German competition. Victories of Ronald Rauhe, Franziska Weber, Max Hoff , Tina Dietze and Sebastian Brendl in the C1 have shown that they are in the good path to be at London this summer. On the other hand, Katrin Wagner-Augustin was not having her best weekend and finished third over 500 metres. The Postdamer, a bit disappointed, said that good news are that there is still time to recover and she trusts her improvement margin in the next few weeks facing the second and definitive trial.

Head German Coach Reiner Kiessler said "this weekend we have already seen some important references for the national team. It's a pity having some people not competing due to illness, but they are strong paddlers that I'm sure they will show up again in a great performance at the second test".

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Marathon and Surfski start their season in Spain

After two months with everybody focused on the 5.000 metres races, Spanish canoeing season spreads now towards spring in a variety of disciplines and two out of them have already seen their first competitions this last weekend.

This is the case of the Spanish Surfski Cup, which consists on five races mostly along the Mediterranean coast. The first one was held last Saturday at Denia (quite closed location to Villajoyosa, where the International Euro Challenge will be held on May 4th). Borja Estomba (Feve - Oviedo Kayak) in K1 and the U23 Iñaki Bisellach and Biel Palmer (R.C.N. Palma - O.S. La Caixa) in K2 claimed victory to start leading the Spanish Cup under a sunny weather and rather calmed water.

You can read at this link the full results.

Further North, at the Basque Country, it was also held the Regional Marathon Championship, where 2011 Spanish bronze medalist Xabier Ruiz de Aretxabaleta (Donostia Kayak) went for gold beating in a closed sprint the former world champion Jorge Alonso, who was participating as a guest.

Xabier Ruiz is the new Basque Marathon Champion
In a rainy afternoon at Orio's bay, the K2 category was closely competed for the first half of the race, with four boats fighting in a leading bunch through the first kilometres, but it was broken up at the first portage at the beach and the final victory went to Iosu Ansola and Haize Galarraga (Itxas-Gain K.E.).

The full results can be checked at this link.