Tokyo favourites show gold medal form at canoe sprint world titles

Four of the favourites for Olympic gold in Tokyo in 2020 enhanced their reputations at the 2018 Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal on Sunday with strong gold medal performances.

New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington, Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and Katie Vincent, and the Hungarian women’s and German men’s K4 500 teams all showed that even two years from Tokyo, they will be tough to beat.

Carrington once again set herself a punishing World Championship schedule, but was able to pick up gold in the K1 200, the event in which has won the past two Olympic gold medals.

 “It being such a big weekend, and still being able to put that out there, it gives me quite a bit of confidence,” Carrington said.

“It’s the race that put me on the map, I love doing it and I feel like I can still keep improving.

“(Doing four events) is incredibly challenging, but it’s good for me to be able to do it. At these times you just have to put as much pressure on yourself as possible.”

New Zealand Lisa Carrington K1 200 gold Montemor 2018

One of the close silver medals for New Zealand came in the women’s K4 500, where five-time Olympic gold medallist Danuta Kozak helped Anna Karasz, Erika Medveczky and Dora Bodonyi to a 0.010 Hungarian win.

The Hungarians have dominated the women’s K4 in recent years, and are still working through their best possible combination for Tokyo.

“It was a very, very tough race today,” Karasz said.

“The New Zealand team is very strong, they have improved a lot in recent years, so we just gave all that we could.”

Hungary women K4 Montemor 2018 gold

Germany has dominated the men’s K4 team boat, and added to the legend on Sunday by defeating Spain and Hungary to defend their 2017 World title.

Max Rendschmidt, Tom Liebscher, Ronald Rauhe and Max Lemke finished 0.367 seconds ahead of the Spaniards.

“We lost the European final to the Spanish guys, so we knew that today we had to do a little bit more,” Liebscher said.

“The secret of our K4 is that we are all individual guys and we can all race in individual events.

“At training we push as hard as we can against each other, and then when we get into the K4 we work well together.”

Canada Laurence Vincent-Lapointe Katie Vincent Montemor 2018

There was no photo finish required for the women’s C2 500, with Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe and Katie Vincent adding another world title to their collection.

The pair are also strong favourites to win gold when the C2 500 makes its Olympic debut in 2020.

 “We are both always surprised with what we can do, and we know it’s not the end so that’s why we are surprised,” Vincent-Lapointe said.

“For either of us, this is the first time we have done something like this, so we are incredibly lucky. The canoe community around the world is unreal, so to be part of this event is awesome enough,” Vincent said.

Carlos Garrote brought the big Spanish contingent in the crowd to their feet with a nail-biting win in the men’s K1 200.

The Spaniard beat Lithuania’s Arturas Seja by 0.107, with Russia’s Evgenii Lukantsov finishing third.

“My friends, my family, they are all here so I am very happy for my people,” Garrote said.

“I am very happy, I felt very strong, and now I am the world champion.”

In non-Olympic events, Belarus picked up two gold medals in canoe events, with Alena Nazdrova and Kamila Bobr winning the women’s C2 200, and Artsem Kozyr taking the men’s C1 200.

Brazil’s successful World Championships continued, with Erlon Silva and Isaquias Dos Santos winning gold in the men’s C2 500, while Russia’s Artem Kuzakhmetov and Vladislav Blintcov won the men’s K2 500.

Spain Carlos Garrote K1 200 gold Montemor 2018

24 hours after sending Portuguese fans into raptures with victory in the K1 1000, Fernando Pimenta again stole the hearts of a nation with a win in the K1 5000.

The poster boy for the 2018 World Championships controlled the race from the start, holding off a determined Rene Poulsen from Denmark in the final stretch.

Vincent-Lapointe added a third 2018 world title when she led from start to finish in the gruelling women's C1 5000, while Sebastian Brendel continued his dominance of the men's C1 5000 by winning his fifth consecutive world title.

Great Britain's Lizzie Broughton put together a perfect race to take the women's K1 5000.

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