TOKYO (Reuters) -New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington set an Olympic best to seal her third successive Games gold medal in women’s kayak single 200 metres at Sea Forest Waterway on Tuesday, before partnering Caitlin Regal to win the kayak double 500m title.
Carrington, who also won in London 2012 and Rio 2016, came into the final of her specialist event having already bettered her own Games best from five years ago as competitors set scorching times in the semi-finals amid strong tailwinds.
The 32-year-old went even faster in the final to finish in 38.120 seconds and join Hamish Bond as the only New Zealanders to win three gold medals in consecutive Games after the latter achieved the feat in the men’s eight rowing event in Tokyo.
“It’s been an amazing journey to this point,” Carrington said. “And then to be able to do something I thought was near impossible, to be able to want to go middle (distance) with Caitlin … it’s incredibly special, a lot of hard work.
“It’s a really nice cherry on the top.”
Spain’s Teresa Portela took silver behind Carrington, while Denmark’s Emma Jorgensen claimed bronze.
Hungary’s Balint Kopasz trailed Portugal’s Fernando Pimenta for much of the men’s kayak single 1000m final, before powering to victory with an Olympic best time of three minutes and 20.643 seconds, ahead of his compatriot Adam Varga.
“My coach told me this was going to be a good year and I pictured getting a gold against strong opponents, so this is a nice feeling,” world champion Kopasz said.
Pimenta, who set an Olympic best time in the semi-finals, finished third as his challenge faded.
The Cuban pair of Serguey Torres and Fernando Jorge started slowly but produced a strong finish for an Olympic best time of 3:24.995 seconds en route to gold in the men’s canoe double 1000m competition.
China’s Liu Hao and Zheng Pengfei set the pace in the heats on Monday but had to be content with silver, ahead of Germany’s Sebastian Brendel and Tim Hecker who had dominated the semi-final and looked poised to win.
Carrington returned to partner Regal in the kayak double 500m final and secure gold with a Games best of 1:35.785.
The New Zealander will now bid to become the first athlete to claim four medals in canoe sprint at a single Games as she prepares for the kayak single 500m and kayak four 500m.
(Reporting by Toshiki Hashimoto in Tokyo; Writing by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Karishma Singh)