Curtain falls on Moscow World Cup and ICF Canoe Sprint Series
More than any other team this weekend the Russians had the most to celebrate after the end yesterday of the 2012 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup.
They dominated almost every event category, even as all athletes through the weekend battled the cold, strong headwinds and occasional rain. Nonetheless the last Canoe Sprint World Cup of the season ended with plenty of enthusiasm and optimism from both Event Organizers and athletes.
Alana Nicholls (AUS) summed up perfectly what has been reiterated by most athletes, “The weather conditions haven’t been best this weekend but it’s really about getting in some good races. Everyone faces the same conditions so it’s just being able to adapt.”
“I will go back home now and continue my preparations towards the Olympic Games. I will be working on my strength, time trials, and training in different types of conditions.”
Battle for inaugural 200m gold medal in London to go down to the wire
The new Olympic distance the 200m events continue to thrill the fans and challenge paddlers that had traditionally raced the now defunct 500m distance. Less than two months away from the Olympic Games the heat is turning up for the inaugural 200m event where another name is beginning to register as a serious contender to medal in London.
After a dismal World Cup in Poznan and an okay performance in Duisburg, Cesar de Cesare (ECU) is recapturing the form that won him the Pan American gold medal and the title of Pan American K1 200m champion. In an explosive race that had some of the biggest names in Canoeing, namely Adam van Koeverden (CAN), Murray Stewart (AUS) and of course the current World Champion Piotr Siemionowski (POL) de Cesar took first place by a small margin, closely followed by Maxim Molochkov (RUS) and current world champion Piotr Siemionowski (POL) finished in 3rd place. This was Siemionowski’s first World Cup after being ill before the season started.
K1 200m World Champion Piotr Siemionowski wins bronze
“Since coming back from my illness I have paddled only 13 or 14 days so coming in 3rd place is not bad; I hope to be better at the European Championships said Siemionowski. I am happy with my performance, I thought before that maybe I could take 4th or 5th place so I exceeded my own expectations.”
So who will win the inaugural K1 200m: the well decorated and former world champion 200m specialist Ed McKeever (GBR), current world champion Piotr Siemionowski (POL), or Sunday’s 200m gold medallist and Pan American Champion Cesar de Cesare?
Jenni Mikkonen (FIN) rounded up her World Cup season on a high note by winning the hotly contested Women’s K1 200m final. Following closely behind were the Russian boats of Natalia Lobova (RUS) and Natalia Podolskaya (RUS) in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
“I am quite happy with my race even, with the strong headwinds,” said Mikkonen. “It wasn’t the easiest but I am happy with my performance today and with my overall performance at the other World Cups.”
Demyanenko ready for Challenge in London
Valentin Demyanenko (AZE) had been tipped to win this race having given a solid performance in the heats yesterday; however the current C1 200m world champion fell one position short of finishing on the podium and the gold rather went to his teammate Andriy Kraytor (AZE). Jevgenij Shuklin (LTU) took silver and Alexandr Kostoglod (RUS) took bronze.
Demyanenko was clearly not too disappointed by his race and said, “I am very happy with my performance today, I have had a great start to my season and I am feeling confident ahead of the Games.”
Speaking about possible contenders for the C1 200m gold in London Demyanenko said, “I think the boats to beat will be the Russian and Lithuanian boats as well as the Ukrainian and Spanish boats.”
Brazil’s C2 200m duo impress
The C2 200m line up delivered one of the most breathtaking races and was won by the Lithuanian boat of Raimundas Labuckas and Tomas Gadeikis. The surprise though came from the young Brazilian duo Erlon De Souza Silva and Ronilson Matias De Oliveira who narrowly missed out on the gold medal. The duo will be competing in the C2 1000m at the Olympic Games but are using the 200m, like other endurance distance paddlers to practice their start and develop speed.
Assessing their silver medal performance De Oliveira said, “It was brilliant! Everything went according to our plan from the beginning. We were expecting first place but we are happy with our performance. We are very fast and we are explosive but we need to work on our strength a bit more-to have more force.”
Asked whether the weather conditions affected their race de Oliveira surprisingly said, “It was okay, it is better to canoe in this weather, it’s not cold not warm and it wasn’t very windy!”
German U23 National Team a winning example
The future of German Canoeing continues to shine brightly with an all round great performance from their U23 National Team competing at the World Cup. The K2 500m duos of Debora Niche and Anne Knorr (GER) and Max Rendschmidt and Kai Spenner both delivered gold medal performances, winning their races in very competitive times. Knorr would also go on to win the K1 5000m event later on in the day. For Niche however, winning the K2 500m gold went beyond their expectations.
“We were not really expecting this win because the Russian boat is an Olympic boat, but we did hope for a medal, but gold we didn’t dream of. “
“We have had a good weekend. We won second place yesterday in the K4 500m, we had a good race then also so our weekend has been a great success.”
“There is still a big gap between us and (seniors) Tina Dietza and Francesca webber through. They are very strong and they are the best, but with our results now we hope to be fighting together in a few years.”
Australia’s Lovell & Bridgen-Jones and Murray win gold
Australian paddlers had more success Sunday with the duos of Jesse Phillip and Stephen Bird and David Smith and Ken Wallace winning bronze in the Men’s K2 200m and 500m respectively. Rachel Lovell and Jo Bridgen-Jones scoring gold in the K2 200m and Murray Stewart who has aside from the 5th place finish in the K1 200m final, all had a stellar weekend in Moscow.
Murray Stewart easily won the K1 500m and was followed by Yury Postrygay (RUS) then Jost Zakrajsek (SLO). Summing up his weekend after winning the K1 500m, Stewart said, “Still got quite a few things to improve on in the K1 and K4 event. We have a bit of a step up to really be in the hunt for medals in London, so it will be quite a lot of work between now and London.”
On competing in the K1 200m he said, “There was a bit of a shock to the system, it was rather fast… but it was good to do!”
Jost Zakrajsek (SLO) was also happy with his performance this weekend having won bronze in the K1 500m.
“I am very happy! It’s my first medal this season at a World Cup. It’s been windy and quite cold but in the end it’s the same conditions for everybody. I am looking forward to the European Championships."
“I want to improve upon my speed a little bit before the European Championships, and work on a few small things. This season is quite short and after this period of four years it will be good to relax the body.”
Canada’s Mark Oldershaw wins C1 5000m
The World Cup came wrapped up with the 5000m distance where Ann Knorr won Germany another gold medal in the Women’s K1 5000m. Mark Oldershaw (CAN) salvaged his weekend by winning the C1 5000m. Pavel Petrov (RUS) took 2nd place with Iran’s Adel Foumani picking up bronze, the countries second medal at the World Cup after Nadyeh Talanak won a silver medal in the C1 200m earlier in the day. Ilya Medvedev (RUS) won a tight race with Jost Zakrajsek (SLO) who picked up his second medal of the day and season in the Men's K1 5000m.
And so concluded the last ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup of the season. For paddlers not competing at the European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia it would seem to have been a short season, but ultimately it is London that now captures everybody’s focus.
Next up on the ICF Event Calendar is the Cardiff World Cup, the first Canoe Slalom World Cup. The event starts from 8 - 10 June.
Moscow World Cup results: http://results.imas-sport.com/imas/regatta.php?competition=wettkampf_3.
Photo gallery: https://www.facebook.com/InternationalCanoeFederation.
For more information, please contact ICF Media: Tel: +41 21 612 0290 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or watch videos from the Moscow World Cup at eurovision.digotel.com/icf/index.html.
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