Rizza set to take on childhood hero in K1M 200m Final

Italy’s Manfredi Rizza is living the dream after a perfect start to his Olympic career has provided a spot in tomorrow's K1 Men 200m final.

The 25-year-old is a relative newcomer amongst the world’s fastest but confirmed his arrival at the sports top table with victory at the 2016 ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Duisburg earlier this season.

Today, Rizza eased through the heats and managed a third in a tight semifinal to confirm his place in the top eight.

Excited by his achievements the Italian said, “I was super happy to make the final. I was really scared. It’s my first time the Olympics. I prepare and I train a lot. I was not so confident in my abilities to make the final as there are so many great competitors.”

Clearly feeling the pressure coming into the Games, Rizza continued, “This is a completely different situation than the World Cup. There is a higher level of intensity, bigger crowd. This is very special.”

What will also be special for the man from Pavia, a small town just outside Milan, will be the fact that he will line up in the Olympic final with his childhood hero Ronald Rauhe (GER) to his right and multi world champion Mark de Jonge (CAN) to his left.

Rizza came to the sport at the age of 10 but admits it is only since his failure to qualify for the London 2012 Olympics that he has dedicated his life to the sport.

“That was the first time where I said Ok I can do this, I want to do this, I can show what I have in Rio.”

He also attributes some of his success to his analytical ability, something he nurtures as a mechanical engineering student.

“My studies also help me on the water with problem solving, especially in training,” he said with a big smile.

So the question remains, can the Italian take his performance to the next level? Tomorrow just after 13:07 we will have our answer.

Final Kayak K1M 200m Lanes
1. Mark de Jonge – Canada
2. Manfredi Rizza – Italy
3. Ronald Rauhe – Germany
4. Maxime Beaumont – France
5. Liam Heath – Great Britain
6. Stephen Bird – Australia
7. Saul Craviotto Rivero - Spain
8. Aleksejs Rumjancevs - Latvia

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