RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Germany claimed the top spot on the medal table in canoe sprint at this year’s Olympics, in a series of races that saw several past Olympians add more hardware to their collections.
Claiming a stunning seven medals in total, including four gold, Germany handily trumped Hungary and Spain, which collected three and two gold medals respectively.
Germany’s Sebastian Brendel successfully defended his 2012 Olympic title in the men’s C-1 1000-metre race, while also taking the gold in the men’s C-2 1000 meters.
“I‘m just happy that the competition is over for me and I‘m standing here with two gold medals,” Brendel said on Saturday.
Hungarian Danuta Kozak built on her reputation as one of the best ever in the sport, involved in all three of her country’s gold medal-winning performances in the women’s K-1 500 meters, K-2 500 meters and the K-4 500-metre race.
Of course, it wasn’t just the old guard that delivered star performances.
Twenty-two-year-old paddler Isaquias Queiroz dos Santos emerged as a home-country hero, charming the crowds at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon as he won Brazil’s first-ever canoe sprint medal.
While gold eluded him, Queiroz dos Santos won medals in all three events in which he participated, including two silver and one bronze.
“Receiving all the love,” Queiroz dos Santos said via a translator on Saturday, “this meant gold to me.”
In the canoe slalom events, some surprise medallists claimed spots on the podium in Deodoro.
Luuka Jones of New Zealand won her country’s first-ever medal in the sport when she beat favorite Jessica Fox of Australia for the silver medal in the women’s K-1 slalom.
In the men’s kayak, Briton Joseph Clarke, ranked 21st in the world, beat a field of fierce competitors to claim gold in the men’s K-1 slalom.
Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Bill Rigby