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Spanish Duo retains title in Canoe Marathon World Championships, while Singapore tops Asian Championships

Spain’s Alvara Fernandez and Walter Bouzan (in the foreground), paddled hard to seal the Men’s Senior K2 event for the second consecutive time. (Photo: SSC)

The final day of the 2011 19th Canoe Marathon World Championships held in Singapore came to a close yesterday with a successful title defence by Spain in the men's senior K2 event at the Marina Bay Floating Platform.

Despite a slip on the portage before entering the boat, defending world champions Alvaro Fernandez and Walter Bouzan of Spain finished with a winning time of 2:05:46, ahead of Romain Marcaud and Edwin Lucas of France and Michael Odvarko and Jakub Adam of Czech Republic, whom finished second and third place respectively.

Speaking on their win, Fernandez shared, "Our strategy today was run as fast as possible on the portage and conserve energy in the water, and we did it. I am very happy to win my second gold medal in the World Championships."

The humidity affected some of the teams competing in the women’s senior race. K1 women senior silver medalist Anna Alberti and team mate, Susanna Cicali from Italy had to retired before reaching the quarter-mark of their first lap. The K2 women senior race saw three other teams pulling out by third lap as they tried to manage the heat.

There were also teams who thrived on the challenging conditions. Hungarians Renata Csay and Ramona Farkasdi and fellow teammates Krisztina Bedocs and Alexandra Bara put up a strong performance in the waters and on the portage.

Their impressive feat led to a one-two finish for the Hungarians and the Spanish duo of Maria Perez and Naiara Gomez added a bronze to their medal tally. "It was a very hard race, my partner and I could have gone at a higher speed and I am very happy to win my tenth gold medal. I will be back next year," said Csay whose latest win equals Spaniard Manuel Busto’s career best of 10 gold medals in the Canoe Marathon World Championships as the 34-year-old won the women’s senior K1 event as well.

Hungary also ruled in the C1 men senior race as Attila Gyore and Marton Kover beat second place Eduard Shemetylo and Olek Shpak (UKR) and third place Mateusz Kaminski and Plawski Bartosz (POL) with a winning time of 2:01:57.

The men's senior K2 win gave Spain three gold medals from this championship with Hungary grabbing overall honours with six gold from their total of 15 medals which propelled them to the top of the championship table.

Singapore had their fair share of the limelight and own reasons to rejoice at the end of the day. Their exhilarating performances on their own shores, stole the crowd’s heart and attention by speeding on water with limitless endurance to finish on the podium multiple times.

The Lions monopolised the junior K2 and C2 events in the Asian Championships, which ran concurrently, attaining three gold and two silver medals. Singaporeans, Raymond Tan and Lee Jia En came in 1:51:23 in the K2 men junior category while Lee Yi Liang and Bryan Ong achieved gold in the C2 men juniors in 1:37:07. In the women’s category, the sole Asian medal went to Wang Nan Feng and Tang Jia Jia of Singapore bagging the gold in 1:36:14.

Their achievement was mirrored in the men's senior K2 race with Tan Wee Jin and Samuel Wong holding off fellow Singaporeans Lam Weng Ngai and Shawn Lim in the race for Asian honours, ahead of India, Malaysia and Japan.

The Republic topped the Asian championships standings with an impressive medal tally of 16 medals at the Canoe Marathon Asian Championships, which consists of seven golds, seven silvers and two bronzes.

The 19th edition of the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships saw a total participation of 39 nations and a record of 12 Asian nations, and also marked the first time a canoe world championship event takes place in Asia. "The Singapore Canoe Federation as a first-time host for a world championship has done a good job in organising this event. The Marina Bay right in the heart of the city set against the beautiful cityscape of Singapore is a perfect venue for water sports events like canoeing and kayaking. We have enjoyed Singapore’s wonderful hospitality and hope to return in the near future," said Istvan Vaskuti, 1st Vice President of the International Canoe Federation who was in Singapore for the World Championships.

For the full results and more information, go to http://www.canoemarathon2011.org