International Canoe Federation Media Release

No: beijing0819

23 August 2008

Flatwater racing Day Six Finals report and photographs

Beijing - A new generation of Olympic champions was crowned on the podium at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on the final day of flatwater racing competition that produced plenty of drama, and a number of unexpected results.

Australian Kenny Wallace shot to Olympic stardom with a sensational victory in the men's 500m K1 final, dethroning Olympic champion Adam Van Koeverden in a thrilling race in which the entire field crossed the line in less than a second and a half of each other.

Van Koeverden looked determined to erase his disappointing showing in the previous day's men's 1000m K1 final and took an early lead, which he held for 900 metres. However it was Wallace in lane two, out of sight of van Koeverden, who was able to up his strokerate to snatch the gold, with van Koeverden holding on against the charging Briton Tim Brabants in lane one to take the silver medal.

"I am ecstatic!" said Wallace. "I didn't really know where I was. After the finish line I didn't really want to look but I am so happy."

In the men's 500m C1 final Maxim Opalev of the Russian Federation won a gold medal to go with the silver he won in Sydney and the bronze in Athens, racing a perfectly timed race to finish half a boatlength clear of world champ David Cal, and Ukrainian Iurii Cheban.

The pace was dictated at the outset by Belarus' Alaiksandr Zhokovski, who led through the 250 metre mark. However the pace was too hot for him to to maintain, and he was clinically reeled in by the rest of the field and finished fifth behind Frenchman Mathieu Goubel.

"With this gold medal around my neck I feel very powerful," said Opalev. "I'm very happy to bring this gold medal back to my homeland."

The women's 500m K1 final produced another Olympic surprise as Ukrainian Inna Osypenko-Radomska, who won the bronze medal in Athens in 2004, stormed home in a spectacular charge from lane three to snatch a sensational victory.

Pre-race favourite Katalin Kovacs led the race for much of it's duration, but her multiple gold-medal dreams for the Beijing Games were shattered as she was overtaken first by Italy's Josefa Idem, racing his her fifth Olympic Games, and Germany's Katrin Wagner-Augustin, before Osypenko-Radomska's headline stealing charge on the outside settled the 2008 Olympic title.

"The race was so close I didn't know I was winning because I was so close to (Josefa Idem of) Italy," said Osypenko-Radomska afterwards.

The Spanish men's 500m K2 crew of Saul Craviotto and Carlos Perez managed to do what many others had failed to do, and win their final after taking the lead from the start. The duo's brave tactic paid handsome dividends as they held on to deny the stunned defending champions Ronald Rauhe and Tim Wieskotter of Germany, with the Belarussians Raman Piatrushenka and Vadzim Makhneu taking the bronze medals ahead of the Hungarians Zoltan Kammerer and Gabor Kucsera.

"It is wonderful that we got gold because we weren't expecting it," said Craviotto. "This past month we weren't so good and in the last three months we suffered a bit. We weren't expecting this, so we cannot believe it."

"It has been eight years at the top. It wasn't going to last forever," said Rauhe. "How can we not be happy with an Olympic silver? But not getting gold hurts."

The result that the local crowd lining the course wanted came in the men's 500m C2 final, where the Chinese crew that stunned the Athens Games raced superbly to claim gold and retain their Olympic title. Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun set a fast pace from the start and dominated the race at the front, and had enough strength in the crucial final hundred metres to hold off Russians Sergey Ulegin and Alexander Kostoglod, before capsizing just after crossing the line.

The gold medal was particularly sweet for Meng Guanliang, who retired in 2006 to get married, and returned to the sport only a year before the Beijing Olympics. "It was not easy, especially after getting married," he said. "I had to lose weight, do a large amount of exercise and put in a lot of effort into our training. I want to dedicate this medal to my son."

After looking like they were fading in the latter stages, the classy German crew of Christian Gille and Thomasz Wylenzek won the bronze medals, a fitting reward for the gutsy Wylenzek who was under medical supervision overnight after fainting from dehydration and stress from the 1000 C2 final.

"I couldn't sleep last night because I woke up yesterday two hours after the event not knowing where I was," said Wylenzek.

The Hungarian women had to wait until the last final of the Beijing Olympic Games to grab their first gold, when Katalin Kovacs, who only an hour before had raced in the women's 500m K1 final, and Natasa Janics managed to retain the title they won in Athens.

1.Ken Wallace AUS 1:37.252
2.Adam van Koeverden CAN 1:37.630
3.Tim Brabants GBR 1:37.671
4.Eirik Veraas Larsen NOR  1:37.949
5.Anton Ryakhov RUS 1:38.187
6.Akos Vereckei HUN 1:38.318
7.Anders Gustafsson SWE 1:38.447
8.Steven Ferguson NZL 1:38.512
9.Stjepan Janic CRO 1:38.729

1.Maxim Opalev RUS 1:47.140
2.David Cal ESP 1:48.397
3.Iurii Cheban UKR 1:48.766
4.Mathieu Goubel FRA 1:49.056
5.Alaiksandr Zhukovski BLR 1:49.092
6.Li Qiang CHN 1:49.287
7.Florin Georgian Mironcic ROU 1:49.861
8.Pawel Baraszkiewicz POL 1:50.048
9.Attila Vajda HUN 1:50.156

1.Inna Osypenko-Radomska UKR 1:50.673
2.Josefa Idem ITA 1:50.677
3.Katrin Wagner-Augustin GER 1:51.022
4.Katalin Kovacs HUN 1:51.139
5.Zhong Hongyan CHN 1:52.220
6.Spela Ponomarenko SLO 1:52.363
7.Lucy Wainwright GBR 1:53.102
8.Jennifer Hodson RSA 1:53.353
9.Yuliana Salakhova RUS 1:53.973

1.Saul Craviotto/Carlos Perez ESP
2.Ronald Rauhe/Tim Wieskotter GER
3.Raman Piatrushenka/Vadzim Makhneu BLR
4.Zoltan Kammerer/Gabor Kucsera HUN
5.Kim Wraae Knudsen/Rene Holten Poulsen DEN
6.Richard Dober Jr/Andrew Willows CAN
7.Vincent Lecruibier/Sebastien Jouve FRA
8.Marek Twardowski/Adam Wysocki POL
9.Andrea Facchin/Antonio Massimiliano Scaduto ITA

1.Meng Guanliang/Yang Wenjun CHN 1:41.025
2.Sergey Ulegin /Alexander Kostoglod RUS 1:41.282

3.Christian Gille/Thomasz Wylenzek GER 1:41.964
4.Andrei Bahdanovich/Aliaksandr Bahdanovich BLR 1:41.996
5.Andrew Russell/Gabriel Beachesne-Sevigny CAN 1:42.450
6.Iosif Chirila/Andrei Cuculici ROU 1:43.195 
7.Deyan Georgiev /Adnan Aliev BUL 1:43.971
8.Sergiy Bezuglyy/Maksym Prokopenko UKR 1:44.157
9.Daniel Jedraszko/Roman Rynkiewicz POL 1:44.389

1.Katalin Kovacs/Natasa Janic  HUN 1:41.308
2.Beata Mikolajczyk/Aneta Konieczna POL 1:42.092

3.Marie Delattre/Anne-Laure Viard  FRA 1:42.128
4.Fanny Fischer/Nicole Reinhardt GER 1:42.899
5.Shinobu Kitamoto/Mikiko Takeya JPN 1:43.291
6.Hannah Davis/Lyndsie Fogarty AUS 1:43.969
7.Anne Rikala /Jenni Mikkonen FIN 1:44.176
8.Michala Mruzkova/Jana Blahova CZE 1:44.870
9.Yvonne Schuring/Viktoria Schwarz AUT 1:44.965


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
Australia's Ken Wallace celebrates winning the men's 500m K1 Olympic title.

Pic:Balint Vekassy /

Russia's Maxim Opalev gasps for breath after winning the men's 500m C1 final at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing park on Saturday.

Pic:Balint Vekassy/

Inna Osypenko-Radomska of the Ukraine won the women's 500m K1 gold medal, to go with the bronze she won in Athens in 2004.

Pic:Balint Vekassy/

Italy's Josefa Idem celebrates her silver medal in the women's 500m K1 final, in her fifth Olympic Games.

Pic:Balint Vekassy/

The Chinese duo of Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun en route to retaining their Olympic title in the men's C2 500m.

Pic:Balint Vekassy/

Spain's Saul Craviotto and Carlos Perez celebrate their victory in the final of the men's 500m K2.

Pic:Balint Vekassy/

Katalin Kovacs and Natasa Janic celebrate their Olympic gold medals after winning the women's 500m K2 final.

Pic:Balint Vekassy/

For further images please contact Ana-Marija Garcevic at

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Dave Macleod
ICF Media Officer
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