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van Koeverden paddles to 1,000m World Cup gold

The Canadian Press

6/2/2012 12:47:22 PM

MOSCOW -- Canada's Adam van Koeverden paddled to gold in the K-1 1,000 metres at a kayak World Cup on Saturday, completing his 2012 medal set.

The Oakville, Ont., native, who won silver last weekend and bronze a week earlier, battled blustery conditions to win in three minutes 55.217 seconds. Australia's Murray Stewart was second in 3:57.234, while Pavel Nikolaev of Russa took the bronze in 3:57.493.

"It was pretty hard right from the first stroke and just holding onto the paddle in gusty winds like that is tough," said van Koeverden, a three-time Olympic medallist tuning up for his third Games in London.

A gust of wind about 400 metres into the race slowed van Koeverden and Stewart, but the Canadian recovered to take the lead and increased the gap with a hard pace to the finish line.

"Murray pushed right to the last 100 metres," said van Koeverden. "I was relieved to cross the finish line first. My lungs are still burning, it was the most challenging race of my season so far. With Murray in the race I knew that I couldn't afford to take my foot off the gas at all until I was across the line."

Mark Oldershaw of Burlington, Ont., was fifth in the C-1 1,000 metres. Ilya Shtokalov of Russia took the gold, Sergey Yemelyanov of Kazakhstan was second while Pavel Rusu of Moldavia finished third.

Oldershaw and van Koeverden are the only two Canadians at this weekend's event.

"I'm really happy with my medals on this tour," van Koeverden said. "Racing is getting and better with every start."

Van Koeverden and Oldershaw will race in the 200-metre finals in their disciplines Sunday.