August 4, 2021

By Toshiki Hashimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – Hungary’s Kolos Csizmadia set an Olympic record to seal direct qualification to the semi-finals of the men’s kayak single 200 metres on Wednesday while Rio 2016 winner, Britain’s Liam Heath, was third in his heat and will aim to advance via the quarters.

Csizmadia made an explosive start in hot, breezy conditions at Sea Forest Waterway to cross the finish line in a blistering time of 34.442 seconds. That eclipsed Heath’s previous record of 35.197, which he set five years ago to clinch gold.

“I didn’t know that I broke the Olympic record. I was afraid of this heat a bit because there were two tough opponents … I’m really happy that I could win this race,” Csizmadia said.

“I hope that I can win the semi-final and go into the final. In the final, anything can happen. I really want a medal.”

The 25-year-old finished ahead of Spain’s Carlos Arevalo, who set a time of 34.452 to also reach Thursday’s semi-finals, while Heath paid for being slow off the start line to come third in 34.582.

Heath will race again later on Wednesday in the quarters, which will feature competitors who failed to finish inside the top two in the five heats.

New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington stayed on course to become the first athlete to win four canoe sprint medals at a single Games by comfortably reaching the semis of the women’s kayak single 500 metres event with a time of one minute, 48.463 seconds.

Carrington sealed her third successive Games gold in women’s kayak single 200 metres on Tuesday, before partnering Caitlin Regal to win the kayak double 500 metres title. She will also be in action in the kayak four 500 metres competition.

American Nevin Harrison booked her place in the women’s canoe single 200 metres semi-final by setting the pace in her heat with an Olympic record 44.938.

(Reporting by Toshiki Hashimoto in Tokyo, writing by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)