Chamaune makes Olympic history for Mozambique

While most of the paddlers were celebrating the calm conditions on the opening day of the Olympic sprint program, Mozambique’s Mussa Chamaune would have been happy if the conditions had been a bit rougher for his historic first paddle in the C1 1000.

Not only was Chamaune making his Olympic debut, it was also the first appearance for Mozambique in canoe sprint.

The millpond conditions were a bit different to what Chamaune is used to.

“Mozambique is very hard, because we don’t train in lakes, we train in the sea,” he said.

“There are many waves so you fall too much.”

The record will show Mussa Chamaune finished at the tail end of the field in both his races, but these are small steps for an athlete and a country where canoe paddling is still in its infancy.

He will compete later this week in the C2 1000 with Joaquim Lobo, and while the young pair are African champions, they know the Olympics is going to be tough.

But their hope is people in Mozambique will be inspired.

“Me and my partner are the first people from Mozambique to come to the Olympics in canoeing, so our friends and our people, and our country, we hope we will make a difference in canoeing,” Chamaune said.

“There are maybe only 20 people competing in Mozambique at the moment. People come and try, but they say it is not easy to stay here, so they go.

“I think this time many people will come.”

Chamaune is also inspired to push harder, and has already set himself a goal for Tokyo 2020.

“I was a little bit nervous today,” he said.

“It was very difficult, they are all stronger and faster, it was difficult. I was enjoying, and then when I finished I felt like I had to train more to be like them.

“I want to prepare more so maybe in Tokyo I will make an A final. I think train more and build up my resistance.”

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