August 5, 2021

By Toshiki Hashimoto

TOKYO (Reuters) – Hungary’s Kolos Csizmadia led in the men’s kayak single 200 metres semi-finals at the Sea Forest Waterway on Thursday to reach the final, while defending champion Liam Heath and former world champion Petter Menning also advanced.

Csizmadia, who briefly held the Olympic best time after his heat on Wednesday before Heath eclipsed the mark in the quarter-finals, crossed the finish line in 35.099 seconds in hot, humid conditions and will be among the favourites for the gold medal.

The final will take place later in the day.

American Nevin Harrison cruised into the women’s 200m canoe racing final with a time of 46.697 seconds. The 19-year-old had set the Olympic best time of 44.938 in her heat a day earlier.

Women’s canoe racing made its debut in Tokyo 2020.

In the women’s kayak single 500m event, defending champion Danuta Kozak hardly broke sweat as she moved into the final with a time of 1:52.016 but the Hungarian could face a tough challenge from New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington.

Rio bronze medallist Carrington went fastest in the semis with a time of 1:51.680 to stay on course to become the first athlete to win four canoe sprint medals at a single Games.

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

The Australian pair of Jean van der Westhuyzen and Thomas Green dominated the men’s kayak double 1000m semi-finals and were joined in the final by reigning world champions Max Hoff and Jacob Schopf of Germany. The finals are later in the day.

(Reporting by Toshiki Hashimoto in Tokyo, writing by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)