Portugal and Hungary strike first at Youth Olympic Games qualifiers

Portugal’s Cesar Soares and Hungary’s Eszter Rendessy have taken the early honours on the opening day of the International Canoe Federation’s Youth Olympic Games qualifiers in Barcelona.

In tough windy conditions, 16-year-old Soares prevailed in a blanket finish in the men’s C1 sprint over Uzbekistan’s Islomjon Abdusalomov, while 15-year-old Rendessy was a convincing winner in the women’s K1 sprint over Germany’s Gina Zint.

Rendessy said she felt nervous in the lead-up to the event, but feels more worried about the weekend’s slalom obstacle race.

“It was very hard, but I felt I was in good form,” Rendessy said.

“I was so nervous. I had a lot of training, but slalom has been very difficult. I’m so nervous about it, the slide and the eskimo roll especially.”

Soares said he felt relaxed heading into today’s competition, but is also nervous about the weekend’s slalom competition.

“I felt good today,” Soares said.

“We have trained a lot in the wind in Portugal, so it made me feel more familiar with the conditions.

“This is my third international race, so I have met many of these athletes, but it is the first time I have competed against Abdusalomov. I liked competing against him.

“I have two days now to practice in slalom. I have had some difficulties with the eskimo roll, but we have been practicing a lot.”

Only two athletes from Europe made the final eight in the men’s C1 event, an indication of the growing strength worldwide of canoeing. There were four athletes from Asia and two from the Americas.

However all of the quarter-finalists in the women’s competition were from Europe.

Rendessy has no shortage of role models in Hungary to base her career around. The Hungarians have dominated women’s kayak paddling for decades, but Rendessy said five-time Olympic gold medallist, Danuta Kozak, was her hero.

To qualify a quota place for Buenos Aires the athletes most compete in both the sprint and slalom events, with the combined results determining the final standings and the allocation of the 64 Youth Olympic Games positions.

Friday will see the men’s K1 and women’s C1 sprint competitions, before attention turns to the obstacle races on the weekend.

Thursday’s results;

MEN’S C1

  1. SOARES Cesar                      (Portugal)      1:49:58
  2. ABDUSALOMOV Islomjon  (Ukraine)       1:50:02
  3. BAKHRADDIN Dias               (Kazakhstan) 1:52:80

WOMEN’S K1

  1. RENDESSY Eszter      (Hungary)  1:47:98
  2. ZINT Gina                   (Germany)  1:49:63
  3. UJFALVI Laura            (Hungary)    1:50:08

Portugal Cesar Soares Youth Olympic Games qualifiers

Canoe Sprint
Canoe Slalom
Wildwater Canoeing
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