European Champs 2011 - Race Report
Belgrade OC surprised all with an efficient and organized venue, with swift transportation and catering services.
With Serbia not being part of the EU could have made it hard for the teams and boat builders to travel there, but doing their homework the Organizers made our life very easy.
The weather followed the trend of this year, that is “freaking” hot and sunny, that meant extremely fast conditions down the course.
For Nelo it was a long week, with hard work and late nights making sure all the boats were ready, and even doing some special work such as bringing back to life a K2 Moskito 90 from 1999, same as Oscarsson/Nilsson used in 2000 to win a Silver Medal in Sidney, funny enough they just had in Belgrade their first race since 2004 placing 5th, that is a serious comeback!
Result wise things went great, here goes some of the highlights from the Nelo point of view:
1. Max Hoff fastest man over 1000 mt, with a time most would think would not be possible, Max is not only a great athlete he is also friendly, humble and a great asset for us, after August 2011 you can all thank him for his cooperation on the development of the boat he is using now: the K1 Quattro XXL.
2. Danuta Kozak, renewed her K1 title from last year in great style proving she is ready to keep on collecting medals, this year she will not paddle their double world champion k2 and will paddle K1 in Szeged where she will want to take her first single World title as a senior.
3. K4 Portugal, fastest K4 ever! What a joy for these young guys that are as good as family to us and our staff, they made us proud!
4. Heath/Schofield did it again and have not descended from the podium since the Szeged last year, and it seems like they intend to stay there! So does Ed Mckeever even not having the best day, his bad day is still 3rd!
5. Katalin Kovacs, there cannot be words to describe what she has achieved in this sport (29 World Titles we guess no one is even counting the Europeans) well she came to Belgrade and took 3 more K1 1000; K2 500 (Tamara Csipes) and K2 200 (Danuta Kozak), simply unbelievable!
6. C2 Belarus Olympic Champions have now lost two major titles for pretty much nothing, but their guess they are collecting the luck for when it matters the most London 2012.
7. Spain C paddlers are famous for their level, and they proved that with bronze in C1 1000 (Jose Luis Bouza) and silver in C1 200 ( S.Benavides, an unknown for most), not many nations can claim this kind of level, as no other country stepped in the podium in both C1 events. Yuri Cheban, or Mr. Podium as he should be known as it seems whatever he does he always takes a medal home, did not disappoint and took yet another Bronze.
8. Men’s Kayak 83% of boats in finals.
9. Total of 22 medals of 36 possible in Olympic events.
Now off to Zagreb to see the youngsters! EC in Jun / <23 from the 31st.