x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Olympics: Larsen wins kayak sprint as Brabants can only finish eighth

Defending Olympic champion Tim Brabants could only finish eighth despite the home crowd support as Norway's Eirik Veras Larsen raced to victory.

Norway's Eirik Veras Larsen celebrates his victory in the Olympic men's kayak sprint.
Norway's Eirik Veras Larsen celebrates his victory in the Olympic men's kayak sprint.

Norway's Eirik Veras Larsen won gold today in the kayak sprint as Tim Brabants, defending his Olympic crown, finished eighth.

World champion Adam van Koeverden finished second to claim silver, while Max Hoff from Germany won the bronze.

Brabants, who came in to the Games struggling for full fitness following a serious tendon injury, could never contest the lead at Eton Dorney.

Drawn in lane one nearest the grandstand, the 35-year-old had the support of the home crowd but fell well behind Canada's Van Koeverden as he surged in to an early lead.

But with 250 metres to go in the individual 1000 metre kayak sprint, Larsen edged in to first place to claim gold.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Brabants said he felt good in his warm up but was disappointed with the result.

He said: "Unfortunately today the other guys were better. Everybody in that final has been in a final this year, at the world cup and the Europeans, except me.

"To be in the final was my main aim and then to try and make that podium again. I felt like I could. In the warm up I felt strong but unfortunately I felt like I was never in the race for some reason.

"The conditions weren't bad. I am not making excuses at all. I would rather not have had lane one but it didn't make a difference on the day.

"The right guys won and they showed their class, they showed their form. My main problem is letting down the home crowd. I wanted to add to the medal tally for Team GB like all the other athletes and especially like the returning gold medallists from Beijing who have done so."

"I am really looking forward to seeing our 200 metre boys racing - maybe they will pick up when I missed out."

Asked whether he intended to continue, the accident and emergency doctor said he would return to his day job, probably at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Centre, in the next few weeks but seemed to rule out competing in Rio in four years.