Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Saúl Craviotto and Alfonso Benavides show their London shape at Spanish Sprint Championships

Frenzy weekend of races last days at Trasona Dam (Asturias, Spain) with the Spanish Sprint Championships, with two of our Olympic paddlers doing their last test before giving everything at Eton Dorney in two weeks. Saúl Craviotto (K1 200) and Alfonso Benavides (C1 200) gave no chance to their opponents and claimed gold with terrific performances, showing that their olympic medal assault is in the right way.

Photo Finish had to decide the medals at the K4 200, amazing race

But not only the mediatic olympic paddlers were taking all the flashes. From our point of view, the main character of the event was junior female paddler Begoña Lazkano, who took six golds out of six races by winning K1 200, 500 and 1,000 and then doing the same with her teammate Amaia Benavente on the K2 over the three distances. These girls, under Ekaitz Saies coaching, are definitely looking forward for some exciting future.

At Junior Men event, the star was Marcus Cooper, just back from his European Championship in Portugal, who took the three golds at 200, 500 and 1,000, while at the canoe events, Amador Ruiz won the 1,000 and 500, but the 200 distance went to Álvaro Novo. On the other hand, Brais Casas took silver at all the three distances.

Talking now about the main Senior events, some kind of surprise (which actually it is not) with Diego Cosgaya win over 1,000 in a very tight finish, beating U23 european medalist Íñigo Peña, silver, and his national teammate Javier Hernanz, bronze. This two paddlers have been kikcked off by the ICF from London Olympics, after they were deserving the K2 quota berth given away by Portugal at Poznan preolympic qualifyer, but Russia, in a very doubtful last time decission, took some extra berths by playing tetris with their 6 paddlers and then leaving out a potential medal couple, as they are Cosgaya and Hernanz. The ICF swallowed with the russians and now Spanish couple is out. Absolutely unfair.

Afterwards, at the 500 metres, it was Ekaitz Saies who claimed gold in another closed finish, leaving Borja Prieto with silver just 1 tenth behind and again Diego Cosgaya on the podium, with bronze. Not even a second away from gold, Íñigo Peña came fourth with no reward.
Olympic Alfonso Benavides (left) with Elite Kayak editor Gonzalo Melero

It was a different story on Sunday over 200 metres, where olympic Saúl Craviotto gave no chance with a more than a half boat win over Cristian Toro and Ekaitz Saies, showing everybody that Spanish olympic hopes for the top speed kayak event are in good hands. As they are at the C1 200, where our olympic Alfonso Benavides had no shame of winning by a two boat difference in a impressive performance with olympic medal flavour. On the longer distances, 2011 World medalist José Luis Bouza took gold over 500 and 1,000, showing that he's the one to beat when David Cal is not on the course.

At the ladies races, two winners for the three distances in K1, with national team members Isabel Contreras claiming gold on 1,000 metres and Ainara Portela over 500 and 200, showing herself as the fastest of the weekend.

You can check all the races results at this links:

Junior and Senior

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