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Strong start for Canada at canoe/kayak worlds

Adam van Koeverden didn’t miss a beat Thursday in his first kayak race since breaking his ankle in June.

Adam van Koeverden didn’t miss a beat Thursday in his first kayak race since breaking his ankle in June.

The three-time Olympic medallist set the pace in the K-1 500- and 1,000-metre heats on the opening day at the world sprint canoe-kayak championships on Lake Banook in Dartmouth, N.S., winning each event comfortably.

Van Koeverden, an Oakville native who broke his ankle while whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon, moved on to Friday’s semifinals.

“My ankle’s fine and it’s not posing any difficulty or hurting at all in the boat,” he said. “I was concerned with the strength in my leg because I was on crutches for a few weeks, not using my quadriceps … But it turns out walking around (with your leg raised) keeps it strong, too. It feels fine.”

Two crews earned byes to finals: Canada’s K-4 500 team, featuring Ottawa’s Kristin Gauthier; and the K-2 1,000, featuring Victoria Tuttle of Carleton Place, Ont.

Mark Oldershaw of Burlington also highlighted the day with wins in his C-1 500 and 1,000 heats.

None of the Canadian crews were eliminated. The semifinals are Friday and finals are Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re very optimistic and we have every reason to be,” van Koeverden said.