Two Olympic medallists were upstaged on the second day of the 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships, but both are still safely through to the finals at Racice in the Czech Republic.

Local hope Martin Fuksa squeezed out Brazil’s Olympic silver medallist, Isaquias Queiroz dos Santos, in their heat of the C1 1000, with only first place progressing directly to the final, while New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington and Caitlin Ryan were too strong for German silver medallists Franziska Weber and Tina Dietze in the K2 500.

Fuksa finished sixth in the Rio final, but believes the home crowd can help him reach the podium on the weekend.

“It was a hard race because Isaquias had a fast start,” Fuksa said.

“It was a fast race, but I had the better finish.

“I’m not nervous because I’m super happy that the World Championships are in the Czech Republic. I think yes the crowd could make a difference, because all my family will be here.”

Two-time Olympic champion, Germany’s Sebastian Brendel, had no problems qualifying directly for the C1 1000 final, but said the first World Championships after an Olympics is always a challenge.

“I had a good preparation at home, they were good weeks for me,” Brendel said.

“It’s a good chance for the rookies to get to the final or make it onto the podium. The older guns must show that they can compete against the young ones.”

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New Zealand’s Carrington and Ryan found themselves in the same heat as Germany’s Weber and Dietze, with only the winner qualifying directly for the final.

“It was good for both of us to get out there finally in the K2 and finally have a crack, we’ve been waiting for a little while now,” Carrington said.

“There’s never an easy road to the finals, so we wanted to really give it a crack at winning today so we could go straight through.”

Ryan said the strong New Zealand team has enjoyed a good preparation for the World Championships.

“The team we’ve created and the support around us has been really good, so I think it’s allowed us to focus on what we need to do to bring the best in the racing this weekend,” Ryan said.

Carrington, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, has set herself a punishing schedule in Racice, competing in four events. On Wednesday she eased her way into the final of the K1 500, finishing second in her semi-final behind Belarus’s Volha Khudzenka.

Khudzenka and Carrington were the fastest two qualifiers for the final.

In other results, Belarus’s Aleh Yurenia was the fastest qualifier for the men’s K1 1000 final, just ahead of Czech Olympic silver medallist Josef Dostal.

Canada’s Katie Vincent and Laurence Vincent-Lapointe were very impressive in qualifying fastest for the women’s C2 500, while the experienced German pairing of Max Hoff and Marcus Gross were fastest in the men’s K2 1000.

The 2017 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships continue in Racice on Friday.

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