Tuesday, 29 May 2012

National trials have decided Spanish teams for the Sprint European Championships

Last weekend, through two different trials, held at the venues of Verducido (Galicia) and Trasona (Asturias), Spain have decided its teams to paddle at the European Championships to be held at Zagreb (CRO) for the seniors in late June and at Montemor-o-Velho (POR) in mid July for juniors and U23.

No doubt about the main character at this trials: Javier Hernanz, after his olympic dissapointment, has won the three events he was competing at: K2 500 and K2 1.000, with his usual partner Diego Cosgaya, and also the K1 5.000, where he got the bronze medal at World Cup 1 at Poznan, last week. Also to remark the victory of Íñigo Peña in K1, both in 500 and in 1.000, earning the right to represent Spain at both the senior and the U23 Europeans, as it's also the case of Carlos Arévalo. This last one, who already showed a great performance at the 200 metres Spanish Cup, winning both K1 and K2, took this time the K1 spot, leaving second the main favourite, the Basque Ekaitz Saies. Something similar happened at the K2, where almost nobody was betting for youngsters Paulino Otero and Cristian Toro, who surprisingly left out of the National Team current and former World Champions, like Fran Llera, Pablo Andrés or Carlos Pérez Rial.

The olympic stars shine in Duisburg

One of the most beautiful and reliable regatta courses in the world, the one of Duisburg (Germany), brought us this last weekend many great races at Sprint World Cup 2.

The great Duisburg venue (click on the image for full size)

But out of all the disciplines and distances, in Elite Kayak we have a special predilection on the K1 1.000 Men, where actually meet all those considered like “the big ones”. And not many of them usually miss the competitions, always with at least 5 or 6 first line paddlers at the start. This time, at Duisburg, we had the privilege to see a race that could be not much different from the one we will see at London Games. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Oscar Chalupsky wins his 12th Molokai

At 49, Oscar Chalupsky makes even bigger his legend by winning his twelveth Molokai last Sunday. This race, included in the Sursfski World Series, takes part from Molokai Island and goes through the Kaiwi Channel to end up at Oahu, in the island of Hawaii. 52 kilometres of perfect downwind on the Pacific Ocean. The overall victory went to the doubles of Olympic champion Greg Barton and his partner Zsolt Svadovski, with Chalupsky seconf at the finish line and first individual, while third place went to another Olympic gold medalist, Clint Robinson, showing the great level of this race.

From the very start, contestants showed different tactics. The young local star Patrick Dolan took on his own a Southern way, having a solo paddle for most of the race. The big group, with Chalupsky, the South African Bouman and Australians Gardiner, Kenny, Taylor, Tutt, among others, took a straight line, while Clint Robinson and Barton/Svadovski chose a Northern route to paddle both boats together.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza (K2) and Iván Alonso (K1), winners of the Spanish Marathon Cup

Walter Bouzán y Álvaro F. Fiuza won the Spanish Marathon Cup held this last Saturday at Ribadesella (Asturias). Meanwhile, Iván Alonso claimed victory on K1 after a superb race.
Walter Bouzán and Álvaro F. Fiuza paddling to victory

In a quite bad day due to cold and rainy weather, the 4 kilometres course got crowded to see the evolutions of some of the world top paddlers fighting to go into the national team that will represent Spain at Marathon World Cup in Copenhagen (Denmark) in June. It was also highly expected the performance of the new couple formed by marathon legend Manuel Busto and his 24 year old partner Emilio Llamedo, who were also trying to qualify and win this Cup in their first official appearance.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Interview with C1 200 Olympic Alfonso Benavides

In colaboration with Sportscene we got the pleasure of being with Spanish young star Alfonso Benavides, bronze in C1 200 at the last World Championships in Szeged and qualified for London 2012. Here is the link to the interview:

Alfonso Benavides in Sportscene

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Poznan Sprint Olympic Qualifier: Spain sinks in white waters

More than 4 centuries ago, king Philip II from Spain said, after losing most part of his Army sinked at the Channel: "I sent my boats to fight against men, not against the elements". Looks like we may think the same today after an awful final day at Poznan pre-olympic regatta. Weather conditions in a very cold and windy day made the Poznan's course look like a canoeing hell on earth.

Far from patriotic feelings (I'm writing these lines from Spain) we can say yes, most of the winners were the best times of the previous heats (also raced in very bad conditions). But it's also true that it's not fair at all that all the paddlers (from the top stars to the most modest) come to these venues to demonstrate their hard work of the last months or even years. And the place for that, to fight close for a passport to the Olympic Games, didn't have the minimum conditions. We all have very clear that if this has been football, the match would have been delayed, for sure. Today we have seen first line paddlers falling in the water at half race. Not to talk about the K1 Men 200 metres final. It was a miracle to have the nine paddlers at the finish line, after a messy paddle for 36 seconds (at the image, Petter Öström suffering the waves on his chest). The front images of the final taken from the cameras at the back end of the course are absolutely amazing. And the side shootings, with prows going up and down, sinking and then jumping more than ten inches out of the water... Gentlemen of the ICF, if we want to achieve the respect of the olympic movement and the press media in general, we shall start respecting ourselves.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Day 1 at Poznan European Sprint Qualifier, the Spanish review

Spain has gone through the first day of the Poznan Sprint European  Olympic Qualifiers with satisfying results. Five boats out of six competing today are already in tomorrow finals. The C2 1.000 of Bouza/Fernández was already into the final as there are just 9 contestants.

Of those racing today, only the K1 200 of the Saúl Craviotto is pending of a semifinal tomorrow morning. Luckily, it seems that he will be paddling an easier semi, as in the second one people like Öström, Balciunas or Novakovic won't be able to fail if they want the three positions going to the final. Already waiting, as they qualified straight from the heats, are the Italian Rizza, the Belgian Richard and the Ukranian Kharitonov. Nevertheless, we will see which aspect shows tomorrow the weather at Poznan, after a cold and windy day today that made the course bumpy and tough to paddle, even more in such an explosive distance as the 200.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Teresa Portela gets the passport for London 2012. All the results of the Spanish Cup on 200 and 500 metres

Teresa Portela
This weekend was held at Verducido Dam (Galicia, Spain), the last national women’s trials and the Spanish Cup over 200 and 500 metres, so the Spanish Team going to Poznan trying to qualify the last boats for London 2012 is now ready. Teresa Portela, who already qualified the Women K1 200 for the Games at Szeged World Championships, got the final nomination in her distance, so now it’s the third Spanish paddler with the assured passport after David Cal and Alfonso Benavides.

In the 500 metres, Ainara Portela (not a relative of Teresa, by the way), was the winner and got the place for Poznan, leaving out Beatriz Manchón and Zomilla Hegyi, among many others.

In the K2 500, Beatriz Manchón and Jana Smidakova, who already were the defenders of the place, easily won the trial, with a 5 seconds distance over Eva Barrios y Laura Pedruelo. You can check the trials results here.

Then, it was time for the Spanish Cup. Many contestants on all the races with more than 50 paddlers in some of the disciplines and with a very hogh level, having very tight times for the cut off to semifinals.

Friday, 11 May 2012

No surprises at Canada trials. Adam van Koeverden nominated for the K1 1.000 at London Olympics

The Olympic and World Champion Adam van Koeverden met the criteria to be nominated for the K1 1.000 to compete for Canada at the Summer Olympic Games of London 2012. In the first Canada National Trials, curiously held at lake Lanier (Georgia, USA), home of the 19996 Atlanta Olympic Games, the one from Oakville beated all his rivals in the final by more of 4 seconds.

“I had a good race today,” said van Koeverden of Oakville, ON. “It was my first race of the year so there’s lots of fine tuning to do. I’m going to sit down with my coach now and talk to him about what to work on for training.” The race course has a bit of special meaning for van Koeverden. Decorated with memories of the 1996 Olympics, it was the site where he first made the podium at the Senior World Championships in 2003 with a second place finish in K1 1.000.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Interview with Hilary Pitchford, 2011 winner of the Classic Marathon World Series

In colaboration with Sportscene, we have had the great pleasure of talking with Hilary Pitchford, South African young paddler winner of the 2011 ICF Classic Marathon World Series.

The original interview in English can be read at the Sportscene webpage, and there's a Spanish version in our web by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Pérez Rial and Craviotto, this one also in K1, qualified to fight the 200 at Poznan

After the third and last trial in Spain over 200 metres, held this morning at the dam of Trasona (Asturias), Saúl Craviotto has become the Spanish representative in K1 200 at the Preolympic Qualifier to be cometed next week at Poznan (Poland).

Only two legs were needed by the Beijing olympic champion to beat, not easily at all, his rival and partner at the 4 x 200 national team Ekaitz Saies. There they are the 35.3 seconds the catalonian had to set to ensure the fight for the olympic berth. After the three trials held this spring, Craviotto left no chance to the rest of paddlers, by winning 6 out of 6 legs, something that talks clearly about the optimum shape he's got this winter to face a demanding season.

In K2 200, finally there was no trial, as the opponents of Bejing gold medalists over 500 metres Craviotto and Pérez Rial, that were supposed to be Cristian Toro and Carlos Garrote, finally opted no to compete, so Craviotto and "Perucho" are now in the way for their last chance of getting into the fight to repeat the olympic glory, after thir surprising elimination in the semifinals of 2011 World Champs at Szeged.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Simon van Gysen wins the closest Eurochallenge ever

As it's usual at the surfski races around the world, South Africans and Australians were clear dominators at the Eurochallenge 2012, race included in the World Surfski Series, held this weekend at Vilajoiosa (Spain). Big names at the start line to go into a Mediterranean Sea quite more calmed than the conditions many of them would have preferred, most of all for Sunday, to paddle the downwind race.

On Saturday, the first race consisted on a triangular course of 20 km. heading North along the coast and coming back to Vilajoiosa's port. Almost 200 paddlers took the start to make a small lap into the dock before going out to open sea. From the very first strokes, the southern hemisphere contestants were already setting the pace, while only a bunch of the top first line Spanish paddlers were able to keep that rythm, like Kiko Vega, Daniel Sánchez Viloria or Walter Bouzán. But the leading bunch was not in the mood to let the guests in, so the consagrated Sean Rice, Hank McGregor, Dawid Mocke, Jeremy Cotter, etc... started planning the race on their own.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Dawid Mocke wins the Défis Kayak at Guadeloupe

The Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, French territory, held last week the Surfski World Series race of Défis Kayak EDF. Not many contestants, around 50, but with a very high international level, coming from all around the world.

With a paradise landscape as background, the paddlers took the start at Île Desirade, where they had to complete two laps in a course inside the lagoon (new this year, as it seemed  that Desirade inhabitants were quite unhappy with seeing the kayaks going away straight to the horizon) and then go to open sea heading Saint François, at the main island of Guadeloupe.