Growing up in a village which was the birthplace of one of Uzbekistan's best-known canoeists, 16-year-old Gulbakhar Fayzieva was always destined to spend time on the water.

On Friday she showed that time has served her well, blitzing an international field to win the girls C1 sprint event at the International Canoe Federation's Youth Olympic Games trials in Barcelona.

In the boys' event, Maksim Khutski from Belarus held on to win the K1 sprint final in a tight finish from Russia’s Danil Vetrov, while in the women’s C1 sprint, Fayzieva dominated throughout the competition to secure top spot ahead of Hungary’s Laura Gonczol.

Under the YOG format, the athletes will now have to turn their attention to this weekend’s slalom obstacle races, which involves starting at the top of a ramp, and then executing an eskimo roll midway through the race.

From her first race of the day, 16-year-old Fayzieva sent out a strong message. She posted a time of 1:59:21, and was the only C1 athlete to go under two minutes for the event.

Fayzieva grew up in the village where Vadim Menkov, Uzbekistan’s two-time world C1 champion, was born, which is also on the bank of a popular canoeing lake.

The Menkov influence and the access to the lake means “all the girls take up canoeing”, Fayzieva said.

She admits the slalom will prove more challenging for her, but has spent the past two months practicing her compulsory role.

Khutski was pushed all the way in his semi-final and final, the 15-year-old firstly seeing off the challenge of Hungary’s Adam Kiss in the semi-final, and then scraping home against Vetrov, 1:35:59 to 1:35:79, in the final.

The slalom events begin on Saturday, beginning with the boys’ C1 and the girls’ K1.


Boys K1

  1. KHUTSKI  Maksim (Belarus)  1:35:59
  2. VETROV  Danil       (Russia)    1:35:79
  3. KISS  Adam             (Hungary) 1:37:78

Girls C1

  1. FAYZIEVA Gulbakhor (Uzbekistan)  2:01:13
  2. GONCZOL Laura         (Hungary)       2:09:09
  3. AKBAROVA Munavar (Uzbekistan)  2:07:71

Belarus <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/83805' data-id='83805' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Maksim Khutski</a>

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Slalom
Wildwater Canoeing
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