Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Spanish Winter Championships: Javier Hernanz claims back the title while Eva Barrios and Antonio Campos get second gold in a row

Hernanz, Germade and Peña (left to right). Photo: E.P. Aranjuez
This is the first post of the few I will dedicate to the Spanish Winter Championship over 5,000 meters, held again in a splendid sunny Seville and marking the first milestone of an intense 2014 season just started.

After a tough 2,000m qualifying on Saturday, due to strong headwind and that was won again by Francisco Cubelos in the K1 Senior Men (4th consecutive year that Cubelos claims victory over this distance), the 70 fastest paddlers had an appointment in Sunday's final, which was expected, as usual, hotly contested.

The start had its particular role in this race. After forming two large spearheads, one on the left after Rodrigo Germade and one in the center led first by Carlos Perez Rial and later by one of the components of Kayak Tudense (which seemed Roi Rodríguez), it came the inevitable moment when paddlers begin to look to either side and the two spearheads come together and begin the fight for the best washes. After the usual sound of voices and clash of blades, one of the paddlers ended up in the water. Once he managed to get on the boat again, helped by the Red Cross zodiac (which actually made him tarrible waves after that) we all thought that he could be Paco Cubelos.

And indeed, everything was confirmed when the race returned to 3,000m turn, where the 4 components of the national K4 team formed the leading group with the young Javier Cabañín as fifth paddler. Hernanz, Carrera, Peña and Germade took turns in the lead to hold the gap with the chasing group, about 50 meters behind. In the chase group was another big favorite, Emilio Llamedo, who already in the first km did not get a good placement and was cut from the front bunch along with Piña, Corominas, Millán, Alonso and Ruiz de Aretxabaleta, among others.

After a hectic last lap to the short circuit, the finish line was faced with Hernanz pulling the lead group. Emilio Llamedo made ​​one last titanic effort to link to, but not achieved his goal. Meanwhile, Hernanz started a long sprint speeding up from far away. Carrera and Cabañín accused the pace and were outside of the wash, while Peña seemed the only in conditions to overpass Hernanz. Germade accused the long sprint and seemed to surrender to bronze in the last 100m, while Peña made ​​a last attempt to pass Hernanz, but he already had controlled the situation and went into the finish line enough margin to hold up his blade celebrating a new national title. Peña and Germade accompanyed him on the podium in that order. Carrera and Cabañín were fourth and fifth, while sixth place went to Llamedo commanding the chasing pack, where Corominas remained seventh only by some inches. Piña, Millán and Ruiz Aretxabaleta completed the top ten of a brilliant race in which the three medalists were below 20 minutes.

Eva Barrios, gold medalist, lead the senior woman K1Photo: E.P. Aranjuez
In the K1 Senior Women race (which didn't need 2,000 qualifying, as happened with the C1 Senior Men), protagonism for the new young generation that is now definitely settled in our national team, both sprint and marathon. This time it was the Ana Varela who suffered a capsize at the start and saw all her options vanish while María Corbera took the lead in the first lap. Laura Pedruelo, Eva Barrios and Isabel Contreras took the lead afterwards, relaying as the competition progressed until the last two laps in the short course. Besides those named, Raquel Carbajo, Tania Fernández and Ana Martínez Sanjurjo completed a large group. Contreras was who pulled facing the last 500 meters, when the group got cut at approximately 200 m. But with 150 to go, Eva Barrios sprinted sharply by her right and Contreras felt her sprint was ​​too long, unable to withstand the pressure of Barrios, who could well repeat her last year's title as Spanish Winter Champion.

And then it happened the arrival/mess of this 2014 (every year we see at least one like that). Contreras did not entered between the two buoys despite the warnings of the crowd. When she wanted to rectify the direction it was too late and had exceeded with her bow the left buoy, forcing her to paddle back. In that interval, Laura Pedruelo had already entered in silver medal position. Raquel Carbajo was coming in a last effort to try to get the bronze. But when it seemed hers, a very fast Corbera drew strength for one last sprint and managed to sneak her bow in the just one meter separating Carbajo from the buoy where Contreras tried to put his canoe. The final leg push of Corbera ended up with her into the water, but the kayak exceeded the line, so she got in absolute extremis a bronze medal, apart of the U23 gold, which she already had over a delayed Ana Martínez.

Undoubtedly, the weekend's image: Corbera wins bronze between Carbajo and Contreras. Photo: E.P. Aranjuez

At the Senior C1, spectators had the incentive again to see David Cal Spain again competing in Spain. Arrived from Brazil for Seville appointment, the lack of qualifying over 2,000 removed the first opportunity to see him in action, so we had to wait until Sunday to see how the fight for the title of champion of Spain was developed.

After a rough start, not in vain the C1 is usually always the hardest by the difficult of handling these boats in the middle of such waves, David Cal and José Luis Bouza became at the front, with Antonio Campos and Diego Romero joining them and causing a cut that was clear at mid-race. Campos and Bouza lead in the short laps was clear while Cal and Romero struggled to be placed on the wash. When they reached the last kilometer, David Cal performed a very open and bad turn and lost a few precious meters. Then, Campos seized the opportunity to squeeze the pace to the maximum, with Bouza stuck on his wash and Romero struggling to close the gap and secure the medal. Finally he succeeded and Cal seemed to lose his options for the podium.

Photo: E.P. Aranjuez

When the time of the final sprint arrived, Campos was determined to look for a new title while Romero could not sprint anymore. Bouza was the only one able to dispute Campos the gold medal. Finally was the Marathon World Champion who repeated the victory achieved last year with José Luis Bouza as silver medalist and Romero in bronze. David Cal came shortly after in fourth place and out of the podium, but with the feeling of having done a good race against opponents who have already achieved a very promising level for our national team of canoeists. Behind, Mohammad Amar was fifth and achieved the U23 title, opening the long string of paddlers participating in this colorful finish.

Throughout this week we will continue to analyze this great Championship in Seville, whose full results can be seen in the following links:
Junior and senior

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