Minnow becomes the mighty as Mauritius wins YOG2018 canoe gold

The tiny Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has a new sporting hero today, following the history-making gold medal performance of canoe paddler Terence Saramandif at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires on Monday.

And Slovakia’s Emanuela Luknarova overcame a scratchy semi-final to win gold in the women’s kayak event.

Mauritius, population 1.2 million, has had a sprinkling of world class athletes during its sporting history, but tonight it has its first gold medallist in an Olympic competition.

16-year-old Terence Saramandif, a graduate of the International Canoe Federation’s Talent Identification Program (TIP), was too strong in the final for New Zealand’s Finn Anderson, who picked up the silver, while Spain’s Yoel Becerra Bernardez took the bronze.

“I’m really happy, it was a great experience, but I was nervous all day,” he said.

“I worked hard during the summer, and all year, so I’m really happy to have this medal.”

Saramandif is guaranteed a heroes welcome when he returns to Mauritius, and he’s already planning to use his success to try and grow the sport of canoeing on the island.

“I think this medal can be the beginning of the development of my sport in Mauritius,” he said.

“Maybe some children will have seen me, and will want to do the same. There’s not a lot of areas to train in Mauritius, so for me, I live in France to train.

“But one of my dreams is to develop canoeing in Mauritius, to try and create a stadium. Why not?”

Slovakia Emanuela Luknarova Youth Olympic Games 2018

After two days of sprint canoe competition, Slovakia’s Emanuela Luknarova finally got a chance to show what she is capable of when the competition switched to the slalom obstacle race.

The 16-year-old was the stand-out performer throughout the day, before finishing ahead of France’s Doriane Delassus in the gold medal race.

“It’s been a good day, I felt strong while I was racing and it was enough for a gold medal, so I’m happy,” she said.

“My worst race was the semi-final, and I had to win if I wanted to make sure I would get a medal. So that went okay for me.

“But I knew that in the final I had the best time for the whole day, so I felt confident I could win the gold.”

Luknarova said it had been a struggle, waiting for her beloved slalom competition to start.

“I’m a really impatient person,” she said.

“So it was hard for me, but today it was here and I am happy. I’m excited, and I want everybody who likes canoeing to train hard and get the feeling I am having now.”

There was also success for Chinese Taipei, another country with a limited canoe history, with Tzu-Hsuan Lai taking the bronze medal.

RESULTS  

WOMEN’S KAYAK OBSTACLE SLALOM

  1. LUKNAROVA Emanuela          (SVK) 1:18:25
  2. DELASSUS Doriane                  (FRA) 1:20:00
  3. LAI Tzu-Hsuan                           (TPE) 1:21:58

MEN’S CANOE OBSTACLE SLALOM

  1. SARAMANDIF Terence           (MRI) 1:18:86
  2. ANDERSON Finn                      (NZL) 1:23:26
  3. BECERRA BERNARDEZ Yoel    (ESP) 1:23:22

Chinese Taipei Tzu-Hsuan Lai Youth Olympic Games 2018

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Slalom
#ICFcanoesprint #ICFcanoeslalom