Brave performance by Brabants

8th August 2012

It was the first of the Canoe Sprint final days today at Eton Dorney with the Men’s K1000m and Women’s K4 500m events.

In the men’s K1 1000m the home crowd were hoping that their roars of support could help defending Olympic Champion and GB’s most successful canoeist Tim Brabants along to a podium finish. In the semi finals on Monday, Tim, with a poor lane draw and light cross winds, was rallied on by thousands of supporters and qualified a place in the finals by the skin of his teeth in a time of 3:30.769 just beating Bulgaria’s Miroslav Kirchev by four hundreds of a second.
In the lead up to London 2012 preparations for doctor Brabants who has been hindered by injury and illness, have been far from ideal. There was still a strong optimism that booking a spot in today’s final would at least put him in the right place to be in the mix for medals and that the experienced champion could rediscover his old Beijing magic.
On the morning of the race with overwhelming British support, Tim was in the right frame of mind to replay his past brilliance and contend for a medal. Nevertheless, it was always going to be a tough call being up against the world’s most formidable paddlers including; Germany’s world record holder, world champion and Olympian Max Hoff and 2011 world champion Adam Van Koeverden.
As the race unfolded it was clear that his competitors had moved on since Beijing and were sharper, faster and able to pull away.
Canada’s Olympic medallist Adam Van Koeverden had a great start and led as he had in the qualifying rounds, from the start. At the 750m mark, Adam was a length up and still in the lead which he continued to have as the field flew through the halfway point, looking comfortable and relaxed. However as the race came to the final stages it was clear that Norway’s thirty six year old Erik Veras Larsen was not going to let Adam have it all his own way and fought back over the last 250m, crossing the line in first place in a time of 3:26.462.
Further down the field Brabants who wanted so greatly to contend his Olympic title and repay the support of a home crowd, battled bravely but unfortunately his far from ideal preparations, which included torn shoulder tendons, were apparent and did not allow him more than eighth place in a time of 3:34.833.
Tim Brabants MBE commented,
“It has been a fantastic build up to this event, I was really happy to be in the final and Chris Hoy’s performance yesterday motivated me and this morning I felt strong. It was a hard race with strong competitors who I’ve competed with over the last four or five years - congratulations to Erik. I just felt like I wasn’t in it from the start and am disappointed with myself and for all those who came out to support.”
Talking about whether he would continue with the sport he said,
“You never know, now isn’t the time to make decisions but I can’t go out of the sport leaving in 8th place at an Olympics.”
Talking about his support and family,
“It’s great to have my family here and at least my daughter will be pleased to see me later even if my coach (Eric Farrell) isn’t!”
In the last final of the morning the women’s K4 500m; Great Britain’s female foursome of Jess Walker, Rachel Cawthorn, Angela Hannah and Louisa Sawers were on the start line. Having already achieved something that British Sprint canoeing hasn’t seen since 1984, the quartets were ready and raring to race for medals.

The foursome found themselves on the back foot early on after a slow start, but used the power of home crowd to spur them down the course, as they tried to keep in touch with the front runners of Hungary, Belarus and Germany.

Working fluidly together they used every ounce of energy they could find, but couldn’t quite make up the ground lost early on in the race, to cross the line in 5th behind Poland, setting a new best Olympic result for women’s Sprint Canoeing.

As expected the race was dominated by the Hungarians and Germans, with Hungary finally reclaiming the title that has eluded them since 1992. The silver looked to be going to Belarus, but on the line the power of the Germans just sneaked in to claim the Silver leaving the Belarusians with the Bronze.
Tomorrow Great Britain’s Women’s K1 500m World Bronze medal winner Rachel Cawthorn, will need to come out of the start gates fighting to be in with a chance of beating stiff competition including; former Olympic Champion Ukraine’s Inna Osypenko and Italy’s renowned Olympic Champion and World medal winner Josefa Idem.

Men’s K1 1000m
 1 NOR Eirik Veras Larsen 3:26.462
 2 CAN Adam Van Koeverden 3:27.170
 3 GER Max Hoff 3:27.759
8 GBR Tim Brabants 3:34.833
Women’s K4 500m
 1 Hungary 1:30.827
 2 Germany 1:31.298
 3 Belarus 1:31.400
5 Great Britain 1:33.055
 Jess Walker, Rachel Cawthorn, Louisa Sawers, Angela Hannah
Men’s C1 1000m B Final
 1 POL Piotr Kuleta 3:54.414
 2 MEX Jose Ristobal 3:56.118
 3 ROM Iosif Chirila 3:59.730
7 GBR Richard Jefferies 4:42.992
For full canoe sprint results and the schedule visit
The Team:
Men’s K1 1000m - Tim Brabants
Men’s K1 200m - Ed McKeever
Men's K2 200m - Liam Heath & Jon Schofield
Men’s C1 1000m - Richard Jefferies
Men’s C1 200m - Richard Jefferies
Women’s K1 500m - Rachel Cawthorn
Women's K2 500m - Abigail Edmonds & Louisa Sawers
Women's K4 500m - Jess Walker, Rachel Cawthorn, Angela Hannah, Louisa Sawers
Women’s K1 200m - Jess Walker