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Games places not secure

The South African sprint team rounded off the World Canoe Sprint Championships at the frenetic Szeged, Hungary venue with a sixth in the men’s 200 K1 relay ÔÇô the final event of the regatta, after bagging three C-finals on the closing day.

After winning their heat earlier in the day the team of Shaun Rubenstein, Michael Arthur, Nick Stubbs and Greg Louw raced to a very competitive sixth place in the 200m K1 relay A final that brought down the curtain on the highly successful regatta that was watched by hyped-up crowds of over 50 000 spectators each day.

The A final success in the non-Olympic discipline was some consolation for the South African team that fell short of its goals of securing primary qualification for a number of boats to the 2012 London Olympics.

The final day also saw solid performances from sprint queen Bridgitte Hartley, who finished second in her 200m K1 C final, Eastern Cape speedster Greg Louw, who’s sixth in the 200m K1 C final effectively propels him into the world top 25 rankings, and the classy 200m K2 duo of Mike Arthur and Shaun Rubenstein who scooped a fast second in their 200m K2 C final.

The day’s four finals, together with Hartley’s victory in the 500m K1 B final on Saturday, and Nick Stubbs’ 1000m K1 C final kept the South African team in the spotlight, and at the centre of some debate.

Hartley posted the fastest time of the entire women’s 500m K1 event, a performance that is being widely spoken of as a new record, but her failure to secure a spot in the line-up for the nine-boat A final meant she could not qualify for a spot at the London Olympics after clocking a disappointing fifth in her semi-final on Friday.

While Olympic hopefuls Hartley and the specialised 200m K2 crew of Arthur and Rubenstein have reason to feel disappointed, the regatta was a success for two relative newcomers to sprint racing at this level.

Nick Stubbs and Greg Louw both made their mark on the competition by racing impressively and in the process toppling a number of very experienced sprinters.

Louw made the Olympic 200m K1 C final while Stubbs finished third in the Olympic 1000m K1 C final.

Hartley later told Road to London 2012 that she was still hopeful of being part of Team SA at next year’s Olympics, writes Mark Etheridge. “My time of 1:46 was a world record time but in the wrong final or else I would the world champion now!

“Qualifying works in that the top eight qualify for a berth at the Olympics in K1 for your country. I won the B-final which placed me 10th and two of the girls in the A-final have qualified in K4 boats for their country so you can’t double qualify but they can still race K1 at the Games. But their qualifying birth is K4 and not K1 so┬á that moves me to eighth quota which will qualify me for the Games.

“But because London hosts the Games they get a quota too and their K1 paddler was third in the B-final behind me and she was in the K4 so unofficially I have qualified for the games but its’ not for certain yet… but I may miss that place by one and then it will be SASCOC’s decision to make if I can go to the Games or notÔǪ

“The rest of the SA team didn’t have the best results and everyone else was in C-finals and I’m not sure if its still possible for them to qualify.”

Looking back at the championships, Hartley still has fond memories. “Szeged was the most amazing place to race in with a massive cheering crowd so its a shame I didn’t medal here but I hope to do it then at the Games in LondonÔǪ”

Results summary

Men’s 200m K1 C final
1 Vincent Kalf  Netherlands 36.192
2 Petter ├ûstr├Âm Sweden 36.198
3 Maxim Richard Belgium 36.576
4 Alireza Alimohammadi Iran 36.600
5 Michail Papasavas Greece 36.720
6 Greg Louw South Africa 36.726

Women’s 200m K1 C final
1 Darysleidys Amador Cuba 42.134
2 Bridgitte Hartley South Africa 42.572
3 Marharyta Tsishkevich Belarus 42.872

Men’s 200m K2 C final
1 Roberto Maehler/Junior Celso Dias De Oliveira  Brazil 33.003
2 Michael Arthur/Shaun Rubenstein  South Africa 33.051
3 Aurimas Lankas/Edvinas Ramanauskas  Lithuania 33.12

Men’s 200 K1 Relay A final
1 Rivero Sau Craviotto/Sistiaga Ekaitz Saies/Pablo Andres/Carlos Perez Rial Spain 2.24 891
2 Viktor Zavolsky/Alexander Dyachenko/Mikhail Tamonov/ Evgeny Salakhov/ Russia 2 25.701
3 Jimmy B├©jesen/Casper Nielsen/Kasper Bleibach/Lasse Nielsen Denmark 2.25.821
4 Tom Liebscher/Jonas Ems/Marcus Gross/Ronald Rauhe Germany 2.26.325
5 Mark de Jonge/Rhys Hill/Connor Taras/Etienne Morneau Canada 2.26.727
6 Shaun Rubenstein/Michael Arthur/Nicholas Stubbs/Greg Louw South Africa 2.28.167

Mens K1 200m Relay Heat
1 Shaun Rubenstein/Michael Arthur/Nicholas Stubbs/Greg Louw  South Africa 2.29.753


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