Tough conditions make for interesting results in Pitesti

Three-time Olympic medallist Isaquias Queiroz dos Santos will now turn his focus towards this year’s senior canoe sprint World Championships in Racice after winning gold in the C1 1000 at the ICF U23 and Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Pitesti, Romania, on Saturday.

Queiroz dos Santos was one of the few paddlers to master the strong headwinds on a day the extreme outside lanes benefitted from the conditions.

“I’m really happy, the wind was very difficult but it was okay,” he said.

“This competition is not the most important this year, it is for me preparation for the senior World Championships.

“But I am still very happy to win here.”

Four gold medallists and several minor placegetters raced in lane nine, which had some protection from the wind, however dos Santos was able to win from lane four.

Winners from lane nine were Argentina’s Agustin Vernice in the men’s U23 K1 1000, Germany’s Finn Eidam and Benedikt Bachmann in the men’s K2 U23 1000, China’s Hongzheng Li and Wenhua Chen in the men’s C2 U23 1000, and Russia’s Ian Kavaliauskas in the C1 junior men’s 1000.

China’s Li and Chen said their win was a big moment in their two-year career together.

“This is a breakthrough,” Chen said.

“We didn’t have much confidence at the start, so we just did our best. The wind was a little less in our lane, and we were able to take advantage.”

Eidam and Bachmann were competing in just their fourth race together.

“Of course it was hard to know where we were, but the Russians were pushing us very hard in lane eight,” Eidam said.

“For me this is unbelievable, I have never experienced this before. We have improved in every race.

“Next year we will see what happens, hopefully we can go together again.”

Russia’s Kavaliauskas said it was good to be back on top of the podium.

“This is the second time I have won this, but I am nothing without my team and my coach, so I really want to thank them,” he said.

“I think there was a small advantage in lane nine because the wind was coming from the left.

“Next year I will be competing in U23, but for me the big goal is Tokyo 2020.”

In other results, China’s Yanan Ma won the C1 junior women’s 500, whole Belarus’s Alena Nazdrova won the showdown with Hungary’s Virag Balla in the women’s U23 C1 500.

Hungary won the women’s U23 K4 500 with a team that only began training together after this year’s ICF World Cup in Szeged.

“We had a great start and we tried to remain focussed,” said Eszter Malcsiner.

“We had a really tough final 100 metres, but we did it, so it is worth it.

“We’ve been training together since the World Cup in Szeged. We are from two different clubs so we tried to paddle together as much as possible.”

The Hungarians also took the honours in the women’s K4 junior 500.

“For the whole race the Spanish girls were ahead of us, but in the last 50 metres we were able to get ahead,” Anna Lucz said.

“On the start line we were talking among ourselves. I think that was good because then we didn’t feel so nervous.

“Winning this is a dream for me. My dream has come true.”

The U23 women’s K1 1000 went to Australian 2016 Olympian, Alyssa Bull.

“You’re not only racing all the other girls out there, who are all paddling so well, but you’re also taking on that headwind,” an exhausted Bull said after the race.

“Far out, that was like the main competition out there. I think everyone was just trying to stay low in their boat. It’s a long way.

“I haven’t really tapered for this, but I love racing so when it comes to a race I can be pretty competitive.”

Germany’s Jacob Schopf racing from lane four won the K1 junior men’s 1000.

“I got my title again so I’m pretty happy,” Schopf said.

“In my preparation first I was ill, and then my paddle broke, but in the last week everything was okay.

“This gives me more motivation for the next years. Hopefully I can get on the A team for Germany next year.”

Fellow Germans Jakob Kurschat and Jakob Thordsen won gold in the K2 junior 1000.

“It was very stormy, but they were our conditions,” Kurschat said.

“This is unbelievable. I cannot describe what it means for us.”

The women’s K1 junior 1000 was won by the Czech Republic’s Sofie Kinclova, who finished two seconds ahead of her closest rival.

“It’s amazing, but I almost died out there, the wind was very strong,” she said.

“It was four minutes and 44 seconds, last year it was four minutes. I race in the 500 and the 200, so the 1000 is very good for me.

“I want to win the Olympic Games, more than one time.”

In the junior men’s C2 1000 it was Hungary’s Adam Slihoczki and Attila Szoke who won the gold medal.

“This is the top of my career, so I am very happy,” Slihoczki said.

“We’ve been paddling for seven years, and together for two years. Now we want to race in the U23 and become champions again.”

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