Canoe sprint: Canada's Adam van Koeverde looking for elusive gold ahead of Team GB's Tim Brabants
Monday 06 August 2012
Canada's Adam van Koeverden insisted he had put the disappointment of Beijing behind him as he looked odds on to take gold ahead of defending champion Tim Brabants in the kayak sprint.
The 30-year-old from Oakville, Ontario, cruised through his heats, even easing off to conserve energy ahead of the semi-final this morning at Eton Dorney, which he also won comfortably.
After having to settle for silver four years ago despite being favourite, the world champion denied the thought of coming second again in the K1 1000 metre sprint was playing on his mind.
And with the noisy home support for 35-year-old Brabants at Eton Dorney, Van Koeverden said he pretended the crowd was cheering for him.
He said: "It's good in the last 200 metres. The noise makes it sound like a really big deal. It's super-exciting to race with the crowd.
"I have had two races with Tim but you just have to pretend they're cheering for you.
"I am world champion in 1000 metres and we only race a big race once in a year, whether it's the world championships or the Olympics.
"I had a great 1000 metres when I was 22 at the (Athens) Olympics. I had one bad one. I have put it behind me and I will race well on Wednesday."
While Brabants seemed to be off the pace of the fastest sprinters following nearly 18 months out with a tendon injury, the German Max Hoff, another favourite for a medal, also looked strong.
He won the other semi-final a second slower than Van Koeverden but like the Danish paddler Rene Poulsen, he should also be in with a realistic chance of a medal in Wednesday's final.
In the individual C1 1000 metres, the Germans also excelled. Sebastian Brendel, 24 won the first semi-final, while the Frenchman, 32-year-old Mathieu Goubel, won the second.
Both will meet Hungary's 29-year-old paddler Attila Vajda, who also qualified for the final.
Speaking afterwards, Goubel, who finished seventh in Beijing, said he was keen prove a point.
He said: "Today my objective was to qualify for the final and I wanted to show my adversaries that I'm present.
"I wanted to make a mark for the final, so my job is done. When I put on the French kit, it's always a pleasure to represent my town, Boulogne-sur-Mer, which faces England. It's what I like to do, so I am very proud."
In the men's two-man kayak, Sweden's Markus Oscarsson and Henrik Nilsson showed impressive form, while the Australian pair of Dave Smith and Ken Wallace also qualified comfortably.
The women's K4 semi-finals was dominated by the Germans and Hungarians, but the British boat managed to qualify after securing a place via a semi-final.
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