Sunday 11 March 2012

Saúl Craviotto leads the Spanish trials for the olympic qualifying

P. Andrés (left) and S. Craviotto (right)
The Beijing olympic champion Saúl Craviotto won yesterday the first Spanish National Team trials aiming to qualify the K1 and K2 boats over 200 metres for the Olympic games at London 2012. The trials were supposed to have 11 contestants, but a last minute shoulder injury of Craviotto's partner at the Beijing gold, Carlos Pérez, left the K1 trial in 10 paddlers and only two boats on the K2. Craviotto won the two final legs scheduled and Cristian Toro and Carlos Garrote were the K2 winners.

Two semifinals had to leave just nine paddlers go through the final, so the worst time was eliminated and that was Borja prieto, who sadly would have to wait for another chance in April at the second trial. The nine paddlers going to the final were Fran Llera, Paulino Otero, Rodrigo Germade, Cristian Toro, Carlos Garrote, Carlos Arévalo, Saúl Craviotto, Pablo Andrés and Ekaitz Saies.

The final would have two legs, to determinate two places for the third and last trial on May 8th, where first and second on this trial and on trial #2 (April 14th) will fight with the defending paddler Ekaitz Saies for a place at the European Olympic Qualifiers in Poznan. Finally, the two legs of the final ended with the same podium, won both by Saúl Craviotto with excellent times (35,665 and 35,365 secs). Second place was to Pablo Andrés, member of the Spanish World Champion relay 4x200, who left third also in both legs the Spanish Champion Ekaitz Saies, who was trying to eliminate future rivals by taking one of the two places in the play. So, Craviotto is already qualified to fight against Saies for being the Spanish representative at Poznan.

In the K2 direct final, where due to Pérez's injury there were only two boats, the promising youngsters Cristian Toro and Carlos Garrote won with 33,507, leaving second the couple formed by Carlos Arévalo and Paulino Otero, only 165 thousandths behind. It's supposed that for the second and last trial of the K2, on May 8th, the olympic champions Craviotto/Pérez will be able to participate and fight for a place where they are the main favourites.

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