Rodriguez makes mark on Olympic debut

Mexico’s Marcos Pulido Rodriguez has had to do it the tough way to get to Rio, but now that he’s here he’s having a ball.

Rodriguez began in the sport just before the London Olympics, but at that time competing for his country was only a pipedream.

“I began because some of my friends from college invited me about five years ago,” Rodriguez said.

“I am the only one from Mexico. I will continue working for the future, it is a big task ahead.”

20-year-old Rodriguez earmarked the 2015 World U23 Championships in Portugal as an important lead-up race, but competing was going to be the least of his challenges.

The Mexico Canoe Federation gave him the go-ahead to compete, but he would have to cover the cost of his own airfare.

A crowd-funding initiative got him over the line, and helped set him up for an Olympics debut.

Rodriguez finished fifth in his C1 200 semi-final, and will race in Thursday’s B final.

“I enjoyed the race very much, it was my first race at this level,” he said.

“These Games have motivated me to keep training for Tokyo. But I will quit the 200, and train more to do other races.

“I will look at the 1000, and train more to build up my resistance.”

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