Canoeing: Team GB gold hope David Florence crashes out


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The Independent Online

British hopeful David Florence made a shock exit in the slalom canoeing competition in the semi-finals.

The crowd at the Lee Valley White Water Centre were hoping to see the World No1 move into the final to try to go one better on his silver medal in Beijing, but they were disappointed when Florence finished 10th in the semi-final.

Florence needed only to finish in the top eight of the 12 canoes to ensure he could challenge for gold. He had a smooth opening to his run but struggled in the middle and incurred a two-second penalty when he hit Gate 18.

That increased Florence’s time to 106.16sec, which never looked likely to be good enough. He was the eighth man to negotiate the course and his poor time left British supporters hoping for a mistake from the remaining four competitors.

It was a mistake that never arrived. The German Sideris Tasiadis, who followed Florence, went immediately to the top of the leaderboard after posting 98.94. He was followed by Japan’s Tayuka Haneda, who also had a clear run to push Florence into eighth.

With the British fans biting their nails, Slovenia’s Benjamin Savsek, who won bronze at this year’s European Championships, produced the second best time of the semi-finals. It was enough to send Florence out of the competition.

The Scot’s medal hopes are still alive — he will team up with Richard Hounslow in the slalom double on Thursday — but after silver in Beijing, there was substantial confidence within the British team that the 29-year-old could go one better.