Dead heats and fast times as canoe sprinters fight for final spots

RIO DE JANEIRO - The wind picked up and so did the pace as the final day of canoe sprint heats got under way at Lagoa Stadium on Friday.

There were several photo finishes, none closer than in the second semifinal of the women's kayak four (K4) 500m when Canada and Great Britain tied for second on identical times, both progressing to Saturday's final.

Emilie FOURNEL (CAN) described making the final as "the cherry on the Olympic sundae".

In the men's kayak single 200m, London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Mark DE JONGE (CAN) took the fourth and last qualifying place for the final ahead of Marko NOVAKOVIC (SRB).

London 2012 silver medallist Saul CRAVIOTTO (ESP) qualified ahead of DE JONGE in a semifinal won by Liam HEATH (GBR).

Danuta KOZAK (HUN) remains on track to collect her third gold medal of the Rio 2016 Games. The Hungarian crew of KOZAK/Gabriella SZABO/Tamara CSIPES/Krisztina FAZEKAS-ZUR qualified fastest for the final of the women's kayak four 500m.

Germany and the Czech Republic were the qualifiers from the heats in the men's K4 1000m, both avoiding the semifinals which were won by Australia and Slovakia.

Home favourite Isaquias QUEIROZ DOS SANTOS (BRA) is also on course for his third medal of the Games, qualifying fastest for the men's canoe double (C2) 1000m final alongside Erlon DE SOUZA SILVA (BRA).

QUEIROZ DOS SANTOS already has a silver and a bronze from the men's C1 1000m and C1 200m respectively, the first ever canoe sprint medals for Brazil.

Sebastian BRENDEL (GER), who beat QUEIROZ DOS SANTOS to gold in the final of the men's C1 1000m on Tuesday, also qualified for the final with Jan VANDREY (GER).

Saturday's action

Saturday is the last day of racing at Lagoa Stadium. The action kicks off at 09:00 with the men's C2 1000m finals and concludes with the men's K4 1000m.

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