Canada has qualified for all 12 sprint canoe-kayak events at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, and a couple of Nova Scotians are closing in on earning spots.
A successful weekend at the Pan American canoe-kayak championships helped Canada clinch the spots and top its previous best Olympic total of 10 boats in 2004.
Two-time Olympian Karen Furneaux of Waverley continued a strong spring season with a win in the K-1 500 metres on Sunday, while Andrew Russell of Dartmouth and Gabriel Beauchesne-Sevigny of Trois-Rivieres, Que., won the C-2 500.
Furneaux also qualified Canada’s K-4 boat on Saturday. Russell and Beauchesne-Sevigny did the same in the K-2 1,000.
“We’re really thrilled with qualifying all the boats for the Olympics,” said Graham Barton, the high performance director for the national team. “It was a real team effort.”
World and Olympic champion Adam van Koeverden is the only paddler who is assured of an Olympic nomination.
Furneaux and Russell are front-runners for Olympic spots, while several others Bluenosers could qualify. They will all battle for spots at World Cup events in Europe in June, with the final assessment to be finalized on June 16.
Nova Scotia sent five paddlers to the 2004 Olympics.