If Hungary has been the strongest nation during the first days of 2016 ECA Canoe Marathon European Championships in Pontevedra, the last day brought the most joy to the host nation, winning four medals. On Sunday the last three events were held – women’s K2 and men’s C2 and K2. It was a double win for Spain in both men’s events.
But it was women’s K2 race where we saw the most impressive win. Hungarian Renata Csay reigning European Champion in K1W (she has won the title for a third time in row, altogether she has six K1 gold medals at European Championships) has joined forces with Alexandra Barra to produce a superb race one more time. This duo has been on the top also at last year’s European Championships in Bohinj, Slovenia.
Csay and Barra had a significant advantage already after the first lap and until the finish line in seemed their performance just got stronger. Despite the lead they pushed from the beginning until the end of 26.200 metres long course. They stopped the clock at 1:56:22,0.
Anna Kožiškova and Lenka Hrochova won silver for Czech Republic. They were three minutes and 23 seconds behind the winning duo and Lizzie Broughton – Fay Lamph won bronze for Great Britain.
The remaining two events were marked by a big Spanish success. Antonio Campos and Jose Manuel Sanchez Sanchez managed to pull out the win in men’s C2 event after they have been paddling the whole race together with their compatriots Ramon Ferro and Oscar Grana. At first Hungarian double Marton Kover and Adam Docze still followed the leading two boats, but with each lap the gap became bigger as they couldn’t follow the tempo of the Spanish paddlers. Even before the end of the race it became clear that Hungarians Kover and Docze will have to settle with bronze medal and the final decision will be made between the two Spanish boats.
The both leading boats came to the last portage together but then Campos, who won C1M European Champion title yesterday, and his teammate Sanchez switched gears, ran really fast to secure themselves a small advantage before the final and a bit shorter lap. The strategy proved to be efficient because Ferro and Grana could not find an answer to this challenge, so Campos and Sanchez won gold and Ferro – Grana silver for the host nation.
In the last event of the championships – men’s K2 29.800 metres race, Spanish boats once again produced a double win. The course of a race has been similar to the one in C2 event. At first there were seven boats in the leading group, but then with each leap some of them could not follow the tempo and were left behind.
The two Spanish boats had a comfortable lead and were paddling in the front the whole time. The last portage was again crucial. Ivan Alonso and Diego Pina Esteves produced the fastest time, the clock stopped at 2:0:41,0. They have even celebrated their European Champion title before the finish line. Luis Perez and Miguel Llorens picked up silver and Danish duo Mads Brandt Petersen and Nicolai Due Gadegaard Morcke was third. Danes were second and third in men’s K1 U23 event two days ago.
The next ECA Canoe Marathon European Championships will be organised in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.
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