Fri, September 20, 2013

Adam van Koeverden destroys semifinal heat

By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency


Canada's top gold medal hope, Adam van Koeverden, got his Games started off in style on Monday morning winning a heat and destroying the competition in a semifinal. (REUTERS)


LONDON - When Adam van Koeverden woke up more than two hours before his alarm clock was set, he knew that was a good thing.

Nothing wrong with a little Olympic nerves for a three-time medallist, a feeling that never gets old for the Canadian paddler.

Canada’s top gold medal hope here got his Games started off in style on Monday morning winning a heat and destroying the competition in a semifinal. With those efforts, van Koeverden confirmed himself as the clear favourite for Wednesday’s men’s 1,000 metre single kayak medal race. He’ll be joined in the medal hunt by long time friend Mark Oldershaw, who was second in his semi for the men’s 1,000 single canoe and will race in a final for the first time in his career.

“I feel good, I’m paddling well,” van Koeverden said. “The heat and the semi were both really good. I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself which is good, I think. I just want to race fast.”

Though he was dominant in the semi, opening up a boat-lenght lead for much of it, van Koeverden doesn’t believe he made a statement to the rest of the competition.

“It doesn’t matter,” the Oakville native and medallist at each of the past two Olympics said. “These guys don’t respect that. It’s a good job but the race is on Wednesday.

“I want a middle lane. because if you get stuck on the outside and it’s wavy, it’s a gamble. You’re rolling the chips if you come in fourth.

With a winning time of 3:28.2, van Koeverden was almost a second and a half up on his nearest competitor, Eeirek Larsen of Norway.

“I didn’t sleep well last night, but nerves are good,” van Koeverden said. “Pressure is a luxury and this has got to fuel me somehow.”