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Halifax kayaker Olympic bound

06/24/2012 02:28 EDT | Updated 08/24/2012 05:12 EDT
A Halifax kayaker has overcome a potentially devastating injury to clinch his spot in the Olympics.

Mark de Jonge, 28, will represent Canada in the men's 200-metre race in London.

De Jonge secured his spot Sunday morning in a race off with Richard Dober Jr. at Montreal's Bassin Olympique.

"I'm feeling really, really good," de Jonge said. "I'm just top of the world right now."

Just three months ago, de Jonge's Olympic dreams were in question when he dropped an 80-pound dumbbell on his hand while training in Florida. The accident left him with a broken finger.

"It was pretty frustrating going through all that," he said. "I had to take some time off and do some conditioning off the water."

Sunday's race was do-or-die for the kayaker. He said the conditions were ideal as he went to the starting line.

"I was really hoping to nail the start and get some momentum going in the second half and that's exactly what I did. I just flew out of the gate and things just clicked after that."

The result was a finish of 33.804 seconds. A spokesperson for CanoeKayak Canada said de Jonge's winning time could be a world record.

De Jonge said his finish sets the stage for his ultimate goal at the Olympics.

"It would be really great to have a medal. I think with this time today, it's shown that I can do it."

De Jonge, whose home club is Maskwa on Kearney Lake, will train with Team Canada in Quebec City for the next few weeks leading up to the games.

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