Women’s canoe sprint will make its debut, one athlete will attempt to medal in four different events, and tiny Belize will make its Games debut in what is set to be an historic week of Olympic competition at the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo.

Three athletes will be attempting to win gold at a third consecutive Olympics, a feat that has not been achieved since Sweden’s Gert Fredriksson won the last of his K1 1000 gold medals in Melbourne in 1956.

Germany’s Sebastian Brendel in the men’s C1 1000, Hungary’s Danuta Kozak in the women’s K1 500, and New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington in the women’s K1 200 will all be aiming to add to the gold medals they won in both London and Rio.

Carrington will also be attempting to become the first athlete to win medals in four events at a single Games. The 32-year-old will contest the K1 200, K1 500, K2 500 and K4 500.

Her head-to-head battle with Hungarian Kozak is set to be one of the highlights of the Games. Kozak won three gold medals in Rio, to add to the two she won in London, and is second behind only German legend Birgit Fischer-Schmidt, who won eight gold medals, as the most successful Olympic paddler of all time.

For the first time there will be an equal number of Olympic medals on offer for both men and women, with the women’s C1 200 and C2 500 added to the programme.

The C1 will finally provide the opportunity for USA’s reigning world champion, Nevin Harrison, to take on Canada’s six-time C1 200 world champion, Laurence Vincent-Lapointe.

Vincent-Lapointe was sensationally scratched from the 2019 ICF canoe sprint world championships on the eve of the competition after returning a positive test, clearing the way for teenage Harrison to take the title.

The Canadian has now been cleared to compete again, setting the scene for what promises to be an epic battle befitting the debut of the women’s canoe.

Official results from Tokyo 2020

The men’s K1 1000 is also shaping as one of the highlights of the week, with three world champions set to do battle. However the race for gold may come down to two young guns who are yet to win world titles – Germany’s Jacob Schopf and Hungary’s Adam Varga.

Hungary and Germany will resume their battle in the women’s K4 500. They are the only countries to have won the event since 1988, but will face strong challenges from Belarus, Poland and New Zealand in Tokyo.

The men’s K4 has been reduced from 1000 to 500 metres, and is expected to develop into a battle between Germany and Spain. The German quartet has been unbeaten at a world championship level since 2017, however Spain finally triumphed at the ICF world cup in Hungary on the eve of the Olympics.

Three athletes will be appearing at their sixth Olympic Games – Germany’s Ronald Rauhe, Spain’s Teresa Portela, and Slovakia’s Erik Vlcek. Rauhe will be attemptimg to become the first male to win medals at five Olympic Games.

The Tokyo Olympic canoe sprint programme begins on Monday and runs through until Sunday.

Germany Sebastian Brendel C1 500 Szeged 2019


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