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Flatwater races conclude with China reclaiming title
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19:55, August 23, 2008

Flatwater races of Beijing Olympics concluded its six-day contests in Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on Saturday with China having successfully defended its title with a solid victory in men's canoe double (C2) 500m.

The race was close and fight for the gold medal fierce. The Chinese boat hit the finish line with a small lead of 0.257 seconds. Meng Guanliang and Yang Wenjun had the best start of all nine crews, and by the 250m mark had established a half-second lead over the Russian, Ukrainian, German and Belarus combinations.

The Chinese paddlers lunged so hard in front of the Russians that their boat capsized after crossing the finish line.

"We are very happy with this result, especially with these weather conditions. This gold medal means a lot to us because it is the first time the canoeing/kayaking event has a gold medalist in consecutive Olympic Games. We have rewritten the history of this event," Meng Guanliang said.

"I almost felt out of oxygen during the last 100m but what was in my mind was the gold medal," Yang Wenjun said.

Russia mounted a strong challenge for the gold medal in the second half of the race, while Germany and Belarus became locked in a race of their own for the bronze medal.

"We knew before the Games that China was at their strongest. Everyone is at their best at the Olympic Games. The Chinese team were the strongest," Russian paddler Sergey Ulegin said after the race.

The races in the day kicked off with men's kayak single (K1) 500m, a race where Australian paddler Ken Wallace triumphed by hitting the finish line with a 0.378 second margin.

Canadian athlete van Koeverden Adam, the defending champion and holder of the world best time for the event, got the silver medal.

The men's canoe single (C1) 500m was a race for Russian paddler Maxim Opalev, who finished the race with a clear lead.

"Actually, I didn't realize I was going to win. I was under a lot of pressure, I thought I would give it my best and lose it in the last 50 meters so it is truly a miracle that I won," the champion said.

The final race for the women's kayak single (K1) 500m featured a close fight between Ukraine and Italy. Inna from Ukraine hit the finish line by clocking 1:50.673, a razer thin lead of 0.004 second.

The Spanish paddlers beat the defending champion Germany and bronze medalist at Athens Olympics Belarus in men's kayak double (K2) 500m. They took the lead in the race all the way along. But defending champions German crew were energetic in their final sprint.

The last event in the day was women's kayak double 500m, a race in which Hungary was crowned with a result of 1:41.308, followed by Poland and France.

Defending Olympic champions Katalin Kovacs and Natasa Janic from Hungary were in control for the majority of the race, recording a comfortable win over silver medalists Poland and bronze medallists France in 1:41:308.

Source: Xinhua

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1 China 48 17 27 92/td>
2 USA 31 36 36 103
4 Russia 19 20 23 62
3 Great Britain 18 13 14 45
5 Germany 15 10 15 40
6 Australia 13 14 16 43
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