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Bridgitte 5th in World Cup
- Updated: May 20, 2012
Olympic bound sprint canoeing star Bridgitte Hartley proved that she is on track for the Games in London later this year when she placed fifth in the A final of the women’s 500m K1 at the season-opening World Cup at the Lake Malta regatta course in Poland on Saturday afternoon.
The final was one of the regatta highlights, as five women crossed the line within just an eighth of a second, leaving fans and supporters anxiously waiting for the decision of the timekeepers to decide which athletes had followed home race winner Henriette Engel Hansen of Denmark.
Hartley finished fifth, 0.48sec off world champion Nicole Reinhardt, who snatched the last place on the podium, and ahead of the current Olympic champion Ina Ostypenko-Radomska.
A visibly excited Hartley grasped the importance of finishing in the five boat crush at the end of the final and said the experience of racing at the first World Cup of the season would help her settle into her Olympic preparations after many long months of training away from international competition.
“I feel better now as its really good to get the first race under the belt for the season,” said Hartley.
The excellent showing in the final caps a great first World Cup for Hartley, who was recently signed onto the Team Best 4 Kayak Centre along with fellow Olympic entrant Tiffany Kruger. Hartley cruised through her heat, and then secured her place in the A final with a rock solid second in her semi-final.
The blond from Richards Bay is being closely watched this season after her performance at the World Championships in Hungary at the end of last season where she posted the fastest time ever recorded by a female athlete over 500m, racing in the B final still smarting from failing to make the line-up for the A final.
Both girls are from KwaZulu-Natal, with Hartley’s team mate Kruger (Amanzimtoti) raced into her 500m K1 semi-final, but failed to advance to one of the finals. She will be focusing on the 200m discipline at the London Olympics.
The World Cup was contested by athletes from 67 nations, most of them preparing for the London Olympic games sprint events in August. The event was raced in almost ideal conditions, following a week in which the Lake Malta course was buffeted by strong winds.
The regatta concludes on Sunday with the balance of the 500m finals and then 200m finals.
The athletes then turn their attention to the famous sprint course in Duisburg, Germany for the next World Cup regatta, before which most teams break away from the international circuit to prepare their Olympic athletes for the London showcase in August.
WOMEN’S 500M K1 A FINAL
1 Henriette Engel Hansen (DEN) 2min 00.024sec
2 Janic Spela Ponomarkenko (SLO) 2:00.068
3 Nicole Reinhardt (GER) 2:00.376
4 Sofia Paldanius (SWE) 2:00.464
5 Bridgitte Hartley (RSA) 2:00.856
6 Ina Ostypenko-Radomska (UKR) INA 2:01.120
7 Emilie Fournel (CAN) 2:02.036
8 Teresa Portela (POR) 2:02.820
9.Rachel Cawthorne (GBR) 2:03.000