Favourites lived up to their pre-event billing on the opening day of the canoe sprint competition at the European Games in Minsk on Tuesday.

The first event of the canoe sprint at the 2nd European Games was men’s 1000 metres race, where Hungarian kayaker Balint Kopasz produced the best time. He was the fastest in the second heats group. Portuguese paddler Fernando Pimenta won in the first group to directly advance to the final, while Roi Rodriguez from Spain won in the third group. These three athletes secured themselves the position in the final after the heats, while the rest had to go to the afternoon’s semifinal. 

In men’s canoe 1000 metres heats the top three positions in each group meant the direct advancement to the final. Czech canoeist Martin Fuksa, Belarus canoeist Maksim Piatrou and French paddler Adrien Bart occupied the first three places in the first heat, while Tomasz Kaczor from Poland, Carlo Tacchini from Italy and Sebastian Brendel from Germany directly advanced from the second heat. 

The following event was women’s K2 500 metres. French, Polish and Russian duos advanced to the final from the first race and Hungarian, Belarusian and Belgian K2s from the second heat. Anna Karasz and Danuta Kozak were the fastest in second heat and also produced the fastest time in this event at the European Games. Winners of the second heat Manon Hostens and Sarah Guyot had five seconds slower time. 

In men’s K2 1000 metres heats Slovaks Peter Gelle and Adam Botek won in the first heat ahead of Italians Samuele Burgo and Luca Beccaro, while the last direct spot in the finals went to local favourites Vitaliy Bialko and Raman Piatrushenka. In the second heat Germans Max Hoff and Jacob Schopf won in front of Spanish duo Francisco CubelosInigo Pena and Russians Vladislav Litovka and Roman Anoshkin

The top three places in each of the two heats group of men’s C2 1000 meters event were occupied by Yurii VandiukAndrii Rybachok (UKR), Kirill ShamshurinIlya Pervukhin (RUS) and Yul OeltzePeter Kretschmer (GER) in the first group and by Catalin ChirilaVictor Mihalachi (ROU), Daniele SantiniLuca Incollingo (ITA) and Andrei BahdanovichVitali Asetski (BLR) in the second heat. 

The afternoon part of the programme was opened with women’s K1 500 metres heats. Hungarian star Danuta Kozak, Belarusian favourite Volha Khudzenka and Serbian kayaker Milica Starović won in their respective groups to ensure themselves a direct place in the final A. Another exciting event was men’s K4 500 meters heat. Crews from Belarus, Spain, Russia, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary won one of the first three places in two groups to directly advance to Thursday’s final A.  

In women’s C2 500 metres event Hungarian duo Virag Balla – Kinsco Takacs won in the first heat, while Russians Kseniia Kurach and Olesia Romasenko produced the fastest time in the second heat. Besides these two boats, German, Ukrainian, Belarusian and Moldovan representatives also advanced directly to the final. 

The last event of the day was women’s K4 500 metres heat. Belarusian crew had strong support from the stands to produce the best time in the second heat, ahead of Germany and Russia. Hungary, Poland and France advanced directly to final A from the first heat. 

On Wednesday there will be finals in MK1 1000m, MC1 1000m, WK2 500m, MK2 1000m and MC2 1000m events as well as heats and semifinals in 200 metres events (WK1, MK1, MC1, WC1 and WK2). 

Nina Jelenc


Canoe Sprint