Difficult Weather Conditions but Good Racing Action in the 1000m

After a superb Opening Ceremony last night with an impressive firework display the athletes woke up to strong and gusting winds. These conditions made racing difficult today for all the competitors in the 1000m heats and semis on the first day of the World Championships.

Morning Heats

The Germans make it to the Finals directly
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The Germans make it to the Finals directly

There were no surprises from the morning’s heats but two classes gave much interest to the enthusiastic crowd. The Men's C2 1000m welcomed the new exciting Russian pairing of Alexey Korovaskin and Ilya Pervuhkin. They won their heat in style to progress directly to the final, though the honour of the fastest qualifying time went to the Azerbaijan crew of Sergey Bezugliy and Maksim Prokopenko. In the Men's K4 class, the French got their World Championship campaign off to the best of starts with a good win, making the final directly. Belarus and Germany joined them there, each looking strong.

Semi-Finals deliver some surprises

Not a great day for Adam Van K
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Not a great day for Adam Van K

The afternoon semi-finals threw up a few surprises. Perhaps the biggest of the day came in the third of four semi-finals in the Men's K1. Adam Van Koeverden (CAN) and Ben Fouhy (NZL) were pushed into the B final by Maximillian Benassi (ITA), Tim Brabants (GBR) and Marko Tomicevic (SRB) who all finished ahead of the two Olympic medal winners. Van Koeverden seemed to get off to a bad start, he recovered and looked comfortable in the mid part of the race, but faded just before the finish.

Meanwhile, Max Hoff retained his winning streak and was the fastest qualifier for the final. He will be alert to the strong threat from Aleh Yurenia (BLR) the young pretender to his crown who has continued to impress throughout the 2010 season. The comment regarding the racing difficulties were summed up by Barry Watkins of Ireland (who finished third behind Max Hoff) while waiting to see if he was a fastest qualifier:

“It was little bit wavy, hard to control the boat and I’ve just finished 3rd I’m just going to wait and see if I can get to the final. That’s the plan. It's hard to race in this weather but it's the conditions and you better get used to it.”

Franziska Weber (GER)
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Franziska Weber (GER)

In the women’s classes, the highly fancied Katalin Kovacs (HUN) dominated her semi-final here today as did Sofia Paldanius (SWE). Paldanius reflected after the race: “I felt very good in the beginning then in the end the conditions were so hard but it was under control.” Franziska Weber (GER) and Rachel Cawthorn (GBR) will join her in the final and these three will be the medal favourites.

Attila Vajda, back on form
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Attila Vajda, back on form

In the Men’s C1 there was a better performance from Olympic champion Attila Vajda (HUN) who has not performed this year to his normally high standards. Weiyong Xie’s (CHN) win in the second semi-final showed yet again that the Chinese have a great habit of producing talented canoe athletes. Cuba produced some good results raising their world profile having achieved a final place in both C1 and C2. The one surprise of this class was that Mathieu Goubel (FRA), who has been consistently medalling in the World Cups this year, lost out in the fight for a final spot to Polish favourite, Tomasz Kaczor (POL).

Men's K4
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Men's K4

In the Men’s K2 Hollstein and Ilhe (GER) are on track to win another K2 1000m gold. They looked very comfortable on the water today. The day’s action concluded with the K4 semi finals – so who will join Germany, France and Belarus in the final race for gold? In the first semi-final Great Britain was squeezed out of the top three by Romania, Italy and Poland. The European silver medallists, Hungary, suffered the same fate in the second semi-final with Russia, Australia and Czech Republic beating them to the line. There is no doubt, come Saturday morning and finals day, this one will be a ‘classic’.

Great memories for Talent Development Athletes

As the wind whipped up the waves on the course, a good number of the athletes supported through the ICF talent development programme and racing today did exceptionally well to complete their heats. While there were grimaces on faces, these were soon replaced with broad smiles in the realisation that many had completed their first world Championships. One competitor, back for his second World Championships is Josh Utanga from the Cook Islands. He will have much to share with his friends back home when he recounts his Men's K1 1000m race against an Olympic Champion and three World Championship medal winners.

Paracanoeing Suspended

Paracanoeing racing got underway in front of an enthusiastic crowd late in the day. All was going well with some good performances with the crowd cheering on the winners and the athletes struggling behind. However, increased wind and incremental weather meant Paracanoeing had to be suspended until tomorrow due to safety reasons. We look forward to these superb athletes resuming their battles tomorrow.

Keep up to date here with the results and watch the live webcast.

Ben Fouhy (NZL), pushed into the B Final
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Ben Fouhy (NZL), pushed into the B Final
Rachel Cawthorn (GBR), Great Britain's medal hope
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Rachel Cawthorn (GBR), Great Britain's medal hope
Italy's Maximillian Benassi, causes upset in the Men's K1
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Italy's Maximillian Benassi, causes upset in the Men's K1
Azerbaijan's K2 hopefuls
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Azerbaijan's K2 hopefuls