World champion Yarisleidis Cirilo Duboy from Cuba won gold while Canada picked up four titles at the Pan American Canoe Sprint competition in Santiago which also showed how paddling events can be held in a pristine environment.

The four-day canoe sprint competition was held at a pristine nature sanctuary at Laguna San Pedro in the city of San Pedro de la Paze. Several restrictions were put in place to protect the environment during the racing.

Duboy, who won her first ICF C1 200 world title in Duisburg earlier this year, added the Pan American title to her collection, finishing just 0:31seconds ahead of Chile’s Maria Mailliard, with Canada’s Sophia Jensen third.

Cuba picked up a second gold in the men’s C1 1000, with Jose Cordova finishing more than five seconds ahead of Brazil’s reigning Olympic gold medalist, Isaquias dos Santos.

Canada’s four gold medals came through Michelle Russell in the women’s K1 500, Sloan MacKenzie and Katie Vincent in the women’s C2 500, Alix Plomteux and Craig Spence in the men’s C2 500, and Ian Gaudet and Simon McTavish in the men’s K2 500.

At this year’s ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships Canada pipped Mexico for the North American women’s K4 500 Olympic quota. In Santiago Mexico took the gold, edging out the Canadians, with Argentina third.

Mexico also picked up gold in the women’s K2 500, through Karina Alanis Morales and Beatriz Briones.

Argentina finished the four-day competition with two gold medals, through Agustin Vernice in the men’s K1 1000, and their men’s K4 500, which finished ahead of Canada and USA.

Among the restrictions put in place during the competition were a limit on the number of electric motorboats allowed on the water, boats had to be regularly washed to avoid transmission of bacteria into the lake, and athletes were not allowed to access the banks of the waterway.

No new permanent constructions related with the lake were built in the surroundings.

There was also a change and adaption of rules, including that the course umpires had to watch and officiate the races from the banks. The time for the competition was limited to only five hours a day.

“This lake will also be used for high-level competitions in the future and show that sport and environmental awareness can go hand in hand,” ICF President Thomas Konietzko said.

“The fact that we are able to abide with the environmental regulations led to the decision of the local authorities to approve a high performance center for the national Chile Rowing and Canoeing teams here.”

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