By Amy Tennery
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Brazil’s Isaquias Queiroz dos Santos was denied a golden finish to his crackling Olympic run on Saturday, having to settle for silver in the men’s C-2 1000-meter race.
The race was among the most highly anticipated of the men’s events, which also included the K-1 200m and K-4 1000m, in the final day of the canoe sprint competition.
Germany won gold in the race in 3:43.912, nearly a full second ahead of the Brazilian boat, while Ukraine took bronze.
The victory marked German paddler Sebastian Brendel’s second gold of the Games, alongside Jan Vandrey. Brendel took gold in the men’s C-1 1000m on Tuesday, successfully defending his Olympic title.
Queiroz dos Santos previously won silver and bronze in the men’s C-1 1000m and C-2 200m, respectively.
Charming home crowds since his debut here at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, Queiroz dos Santos is Brazil’s first-ever Olympic medalist in canoe sprint.
“Even though it was not gold, in my opinion the Brazilian crowd is what pushed us on so we’re still happy with winning a medal,” Queiroz dos Santos said.
Liam Heath brought home Britain’s 25th gold medal on Saturday, winning the men’s K-1 200m sprint in a neck-and-neck battle with France’s Maxime Beaumont.
Heath, 32, claimed victory in 35.197 seconds, just 0.165 seconds faster than silver medalist Beaumont.
“I could be up with Jesus Christ looking down,” said Heath after the race. “It’s an absolutely incredible feeling. Hard to put into words.”
Spain’s Saul Craviotto and Germany’s Ronald Rauhe tied for bronze, with identical finishing times down to the thousandth of a second.
A monitor over the finish line originally showed that Craviotto had claimed the third podium spot, with Rauhe in fourth, before displaying the tie.
Rauhe described the confusion over his fate as an “emotional rollercoaster.”
“I saw my name on the fourth place… at the first moment I was really disappointed and unhappy,” said Rauhe, who called sharing the medal with his one-time rival “really special.”
“It’s funny that we both got third together,” Rauhe said of Craviatto. “For 15 years, we’ve been fighting each other for medals, and we both will finish our Olympic careers here.”
In the men’s K-4 1000m sprint, Germany claimed its fourth canoe sprint gold medal, beating silver medal-winning Slovakia and bronze-winning the Czech Republic.
(Editing by Clare Lovell and Nina Chestney)