Frenchman Tony Estanguet slaloms to canoe gold

August 1st, 2012 - 12:33 am ICT by IANS  

London, July 31 (IANS/RIA Novosti) France’s 2000 and 2004 Olympic gold medallist Tony Estanguet grabbed the top prize at the London Games Tuesday in the canoe slalom single category.

Estanguet won in 1 minute, 37.06 seconds to beat Germany’s Sideris Tasiadis, who took the silver a second behind.

“It’s a really special moment for me and was a big fight for me to return after Beijing with my ninth place. I am really satisfied because this water is very fast, it’s like a dream,” Estanguet said.

Beijing champion Michal Martikan of Slovakia edged into bronze place two tenths of a second down on Tasiadis.

“It’s crazy,” said Tasiadis when asked to comment on his silver.

“When I entered the Olympics, I did not expect to win a medal. I was not confident. It is a surprise medal. I was so nervous, but I am very pleased.”

Estanguet had a perfect run down the 23-gate Olympic course after Tasiadis had qualified fastest in the semi-finals.

Martikan also won gold at Atlanta in 1996, and was silver medallist behind Estanguet in Sydney and Athens.

“Although it’s my fifth medal in five Olympic Games, I’m a bit disappointed,” Martikan said.

“It wasn’t a difficult course, although the water in some places made it difficult. The configuration of the gates was good. I’m just disappointed because I couldn’t go faster.”

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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