Estanguet hands over medal and mantle to compatriot Gargaud Chanut

RIO DE JANEIRO - Denis GARGAUD CHANUT (FRA) inherited the mantle of French canoe slalom great Tony ESTANGUET as he won France's seventh Olympic Games gold medal in the sport at Whitewater Stadium on Tuesday.

GARGAUD CHANUT held off the challenge of Matej BENUS (SVK) and Takuya HANEDA (JPN) to clock the fastest run in the men's C1 final before accepting the gold medal from presenter ESTANGUET, who won the last of his three C1 golds at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

"It was a very great moment for him to bring me this medal because there is a sort of transfer between us," GARGAUD CHANUT, the 2011 world champion, said. "It has always been presented to me that I was inheriting from the family of ESTANGUET because he did a lot of good things in the canoe slalom family."

In the first Olympic Games canoe slalom competition since 1992 to not feature Michal MARTIKAN (SVK) on the podium, never mind in the race, it was fitting that the man who edged him out in Slovakian team qualifying for Rio 2016 should claim the silver medal.

BENUS shaved over five seconds off his first run time to match the silvers won by MARTIKAN in 2000 and 2004. MARTIKAN also won gold in1996 and 2008, and a bronze in 2012, but lost out to BENUS in qualifying for Rio 2016.

"I am very happy to win this medal for Slovakia and I am following in his steps," BENUS said.

HANEDA has improved in every Olympic Games since his 14th place on his debut at the Beijing 2008 Games. The Slovakia-based paddler posted a clean run to take a men's canoe slalom medal away from Europe for only the third time in Olympic Games history.

"It is my third Olympics and this is the first time an Asian or Japanese has won a medal so for me it is indeed a great pleasure," HANEDA said.

Only three gates were hit in total during a series of cautious semifinal runs on Tuesday. But with the 10 qualified paddlers going all out in the final, only the top three plus Vitezslav GEBAS (CZE) in fourth went down clear, with a clipped gate from last-out Sideris TASIADIS (GER) costing the London 2012 silver medallist the bronze.

Beijing 2008 silver medallist and two-time world champion David FLORENCE (GBR) hit two gates and finished last.

Wednesday's action

The men's canoe slalom K1 event will run to a conclusion on Wednesday, with world No.17 Giovanni DE GENNARO (ITA) starting last after he posted the fastest time in the heats on Sunday.

Joseph CLARKE (GBR) recovered from a missed gate in his first run on the course to qualify in second position, just 0.10 seconds behind DE GENNARO. London 2012 bronze medallist Hannes AIGNER (GER) qualified in third.

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