Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Day 1 at Poznan European Sprint Qualifier, the Spanish review

Spain has gone through the first day of the Poznan Sprint European  Olympic Qualifiers with satisfying results. Five boats out of six competing today are already in tomorrow finals. The C2 1.000 of Bouza/Fernández was already into the final as there are just 9 contestants.

Of those racing today, only the K1 200 of the Saúl Craviotto is pending of a semifinal tomorrow morning. Luckily, it seems that he will be paddling an easier semi, as in the second one people like Öström, Balciunas or Novakovic won't be able to fail if they want the three positions going to the final. Already waiting, as they qualified straight from the heats, are the Italian Rizza, the Belgian Richard and the Ukranian Kharitonov. Nevertheless, we will see which aspect shows tomorrow the weather at Poznan, after a cold and windy day today that made the course bumpy and tough to paddle, even more in such an explosive distance as the 200.

At the K1 1.000, Spanish representative, the young Francisco Cubelos, showed again his world class being surpassed only by former K2 world champion Cirylle Carré in a very closed heat finished in 3:32, great tiem for the course conditions. Having to paddle semifinals, he finished second again, trying not to risk, this time behind the Polish Olszewski, but seven seconds slower than the first heat. Tomorrow there will be no easy rival at the final, more if it is fighting for just two quota places for the Olympics. The French Carré himself, the Italian Benassi or the Hungarian Pauman will be very tough paddlers to beat, but the young of three brothers Cubelos is in a very good position to keep achieving new hits in his career at barely 19 years old.

The clearest qualification was for the K2 1.000 of Javier Hernanz and Diego Cosgaya, who gave a lesson on how to dominate a race and went through the final by winning his heat and clock the best time of the afternoon in 3:15, that allows them to paddle tomorrow in lane 5. Among their rivals, stron boats like those of Slovenians Leban/Kok, Portuguese Silva/Pimenta or los Lithuanians Nekriosius/Olijnik, who showed today a great pace in the last half of their heat.

The other Spanish Men K2, the one of the olympic champions Saúl Craviotto and Carlos Pérez Rial, didn't have a lucky heat and, after a bad start, they only could be fifth in a race with six boats in just 3 tenths of a second. But in the semifinal, they showed again their world class and won with 32,7, second best time of the day. Tomorrow they will be in lane 8 to fight for just one quota place with the strong central lanes, like those of the Swedish Öström/Svensson, the Polish Twardowski/Putto or the Russians Postrigay/Dyachenko, who set the best time today with 32,5.

Concerning the women, the K2 500 of Beatriz Manchón and Jana Smidakova didn't want to risk too much because of the strong waves (in the first heat, the Bulgarian crew fell in because of it) and finished third, enough to go straight through the final, where the central lane will be for the best time of the Swedish Nordlow and Johansson.

In K1 500, another one of the Spanish young values, Ainara Portela, had to compete in semifinals to reach a place in the final. After being fifth in her heat, finally finished second in the semifinal only after the Norwegian Mira Verås Larsen. Portela, with a best time today of 1:58, won't have it easy tomorrow to get one of the two quota places against strong paddlers like the Polish Naja or the Russian Kachalova, both under 1:56, but for sure Portela will give her best for the dream of being at London 2012.

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