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Germany, Hungary make good start in Olympic canoeing flatwater race
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20:15, August 18, 2008

The canoeing flatwater powers Germany and Hungary made strong start in the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on Monday, with most the favorites progressing smoothly into the next rounds.

A total 14 heats in six categories were contested on the first day of the canoeing flatwater racing at the Beijing Games. Germany won four heats in the women's kayak four (K4) 500m, the men's kayak double (K2), canoe double (C2), and K4 in the1,000m. Hungary won three in the men's C1 and K2 1,000m and women's K4 500m.

In Athens, Germany took four golds and three silvers from the 12 canoeing flatwater events, while Hungary clinched three golds and three silvers.

Defending Olympic champion Eirik Veraas Larsen of Norway won heat two in the men's K1 1,000m. But he would be challenged in the final by world champion Tim Brabants as the Briton won another heat with a faster time.

"It's going to be a battle between five or six. The one that performs the best on the day will win," the 32-year-old Norwaygian said.

David Cal, defending Olympic champion in the men's C1 1,000m, advanced straight through to the final. Three-time world champion Andreas Dittmer of Germany came in second behind the Spanish, and had to contest another race for a berth in the final.

Dittmer won the C1 1,000m gold in Atlanta and retained the title in Sydney. In Athens, he took a silver in the event, but claimed a gold in the men's C1 500m race.

China contested in five events, and only the women's K4 crew advanced straight to the final with a second finish. The others in the men's K1, K2, C2, and K4 on the 1,000 course would have to contest semi-finals to secure finals slots.

"I feel our performance today is not as good as in our training," said Yu Lamei in the women's four. "We'll do our best and focus on the process rather than on the results."

"I told them (crew members) to forget the pressure and not paddle out of the lane," said Zhong Hongyan, who contested the women's four at her second Olympics.

Yang Wenjun and Meng Guanliang, who won China's first-ever canoeing flatwater Olympic gold medal, will start its journey to retain the title in the men's C2 500m on Tuesday.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 37 14 14 65
2 USA 19 22 25 66
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4 Great Britain 11 7 8 26
5 Germany 9 6 7 22
6 South Korea 8 9 5 22
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