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Slovakia's Kaliska wins women's Kayak (K1) gold
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20:27, August 16, 2008

Elena Kaliska of Slovakia competes during the kayak (K1) women semifinal at the Beijing Olympic Games Canoe/Kayak Slalom event in Beijing, China, Aug. 15, 2008. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)

Slovakia's Elena Kaliska retained the title in the Olympic canoeing slalom women's singles on Friday, claiming her country's third gold medal in the white water racing and also at the Beijing Games.

Kaliska won comfortably with a combined time of 192.64 seconds, 14.30 seconds ahead of Australian Jacqueline Lawrence. The 36-year-old was the only one among 10 paddlers that posted clean runs both in the semifinal and final.

Violetta Oblinger Peters of Austria took bronze in a time of 214.77 seconds.

Kaliska won the race just about 30 minutes after Slovakia's twins Pavol and Peter Hochschorner took the unprecedented third Olympic titles in the men's canoe double (C2) event. On Tuesday, their compatriot Michal Martikan regained the men's C1 gold 12 years after he took the C1 title in Atlanta.

There are four events in the canoeing slalom, the men's C1, C2, K1, and the women's K1.

"I was nervous, but I managed to concentrate on the race, and show my best shape in the final," Kaliska, the world number five and world champion in 2005, said through a translator at a post-race conference.

"I was aware that I should go through without bigger mistakes," she said.

The double Olympic champion said the three gold medals won by the Slovakia canoeing team would send the whole nation into raptures.

"We are dedicated to the sports and shall have the next winners," she said beamingly.

Australia's Lawrence acknowledge that the second finish was a little surprise for her. "I aimed to be be among the top 15 to qualify for the semifinal, but I never expected to make the final and finish in second."

"I just focused on my race and didn't care about others' performances That's why I won the silver," the 26-year-old said in the mixed zone.

Many of the top women's kayakers had struggled on what many called the toughest course in the world.

Stepanka Hilgertova of the Czech Republic, who won the K1 gold in Atlanta and Sdyney, finished in a distant 9th for incurring a 150-second penalty for missing three gates in the final run. The world number one posted the third fastest time in the semifinal.

Source: Xinhua

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