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Britain's 'Bolt on Water' wins on final day

india Updated: Aug 11, 2012 19:24 IST
Ed McKeever


Britain's Ed McKeever lived up to his unwanted nickname of 'Usain Bolt on Water' on Saturday when he powered to victory in the men's K1 200 canoeing to take the first Olympic title in the new shorter and more explosive distance.

McKeever won the first of four Olympic finals raced over the 200-metre course, thrilling the 20,000 fans packed into the grandstands for the new events which are designed to increase interest in the sport.

Canoeists from New Zealand, Ukraine and Russia took the final three titles in a new discipline that requires racers to take around three strokes a second in a high-pressure sprint for the line.

Watched by Prime Minister David Cameron and his family, the unassuming trainee accountant from Britain was the first off, surging from the start line in front of thousands of screaming fans before pulling ahead of the field.

He later posed awkwardly for photographers with his medal before telling reporters that he had largely dismissed or ignored their label linking him to the cool, lanky Jamaican sprinter in the build-up to the Games.

"Luckily I've got one of these as well now, so I'm more willing to accept it," the 1.73-metre fastest paddler in the world said, wearing his medal.

Cameron, walking with his family through the venue owned by his old school Eton, told a small group of reporters how impressed he was with McKeever and the whole British team.

"There must have been enormous pressure to deliver on the day," he said as he crossed a small bridge. "There's such a short amount of time to get it right and he absolutely did."

Asked about McKeever's nickname, he replied: "He's pretty quick isn't he? Obviously it's not only just physically very challenging but technically. When I get into a kayak there is quite a lot of splashing."

Another canoeist to ignore the pressure on Dorney Lake was New Zealand's Lisa Carrington who won her country's first women's Olympic gold medal in the sport with her dominant victory in the K1 200.

"It's been really great," she told reporters. "You dream about this moment, but I still don't believe it. It hasn't sunken in yet."

The result consigned Hungarian great Natasa Douchev-Janics to a bronze medal after she won a silver earlier in the week, and left the three-times Olympic gold medallist uncertain of whether she wanted to carry on.

"It's not my Olympics," she said. "I wanted gold. I'll sit down, and will think about whether I want to continue. My spirit is a bit taken away."

Ukraine's Yuri Cheban won gold in the C1 200 to add to his bronze from Beijing and Russia's Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko blew away the field to take victory in the men's C2 200 in the most comprehensive win of the day.

The final results on Saturday meant Hungary just edged fierce rivals Germany to top the flatwater canoeing medal table, with three golds, two silvers and one bronze from the 12 events.

Germany, who topped the medal table in Beijing, finished in second place with three golds, one silver and two bronzes.