China’s triumphant women’s C2 500 Olympic gold medalists Mengya Sun and Shixiao Xu are hopeful their breakthrough win in Tokyo on Saturday will inspire more Chinese women to take up the sport.

Not only did the duo win China’s first ever canoe sprint gold medal for women, but it was also the first time the women’s C2 500 was held at the Olympics.

Sun and Xu held the form which won them a gold medal at the 2019 ICF canoe sprint world championships, their first major international competition together

“We are so happy, it is a big honour for us to come to the Olympics for the first time and compete here,” Sun said.

“We told each other before the race that there was no pressure, and not to let pressure destroy us. We just wanted to show what we had trained to do at home. We just wanted to treat it like normal training.”

China finished ahead of Ukraine’s Anastasiia Chetverikova and Liudmyla Luzan, with Canada’s four-time world champions Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and Katie Vincent taking the bronze.

20-year-old Sun and 29-year-old Xu would like to defend their gold medal in Paris in 2024.

“If our nation needs us, if the team needs us, and my partner needs me, I’ll be there,” Sun said.

The gold medalists paid tribute to their hosts for putting the Olympics on.

“Even during Covid, thanks to the Japanese government and the IOC we had a really good environment here to compete and show our performance,” Sun said.

Pics by Bence Vekassy

China women C2 Xu Sun Tokyo Olympics

Canoe Sprint