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Van Koeverden, Oldershaw paddle into Olympic finals

08/06/2012 07:30 EDT | Updated 10/06/2012 05:12 EDT
Adam van Koeverden appears in fine form to compete for gold.

The Canadian kayaker advanced to the final of the men's K-1 1,000 metre at the London Olympics after winning the morning heat and semifinal on Monday.

"I felt fast and comfortable," said van Koeverden, who will compete for gold Wednesday. "I was just gauging my stroke rate and feeling the wind."

The Oakville, Ont., native says he's experiencing nerves despite the fact this is his third Games.

"I didn't sleep very well last night," said van Koeverden, before adding: "I slept well until like 4 a.m. and then I got up. But nerves are good and pressure's a luxury. This nervous energy's got to fuel me somehow."

The 30-year-old was the top qualifier in the semifinals with a time of three minutes 28.209 seconds. Germany's Max Hoff was second (3:29.294) and Norway's Eirik Veras Larsen was third (3:29.547).

Van Koeverden was in good spirits following his race.

"I had a really good start," van Koeverden said. "Wind is good. It will affect the canoers more. I have a whole day to recover. I'll maybe paddle this afternoon. I'm in a good mood!"

Earlier in the day, van Koeverden advanced to the semifinals, winning his heat with a time of 3:28.697.

Van Koeverden is the reigning world champion in the men's K-1 1,000m and a medal favourite this year. He has three Olympic medals. In the Athens Olympics, he won gold in the K-1 500m and bronze in K-1 1,000m, then added a silver in the K-1 500m four years later in Beijing.

"That's the typical Adam race," Canadian canoe-kayak team leader Mark Granger said of van Koeverden. "He has matured a lot since the last games. He is really calm and composed."

Oldershaw reaches C-1 1,000m final

Mark Oldershaw qualified for the men's C-1 1,000-metre canoe sprint final on Monday. He placed second in his heat and will move on with a time of 3:52.197.

Oldershaw had the third best time in the semifinals, trailing Mathieu Goubel of France (3:51.811) and Sebastian Brendel of Germany (3:52.122).

"I felt really good," said Oldershaw. "The heat was a bit harder than I thought. It was hot out there and tough to race so quickly after the heat."

The Burlington, Ont., native had some incentive to race well. Several of his family members watched from the stands, including aunts, uncles, cousins, his mom, sister, and dad, who is also his coach.

"I told Mark to be technically sound before the race," said Scott Oldershaw. "I told him he is as good as everyone else on the line."

Earlier, he placed second in his heat to advance to the semifinals.

Oldershaw posted a time of 3:55.211 to place second in his heat behind Spain's David Cal Figueroa.

The final will take place Wednesday.

"Whether I win a medal, I just feel like I have done everything I can," said Oldershaw. "And when you have that feeling, it's easier to sleep and it's a lot less nerves."

Cochrane, Fournel fail to advance to K-2 1,000m final

Canada's Hugues Fournel and Ryan Cochrane did not advance to the final after finishing fifth in their semifinal race.

The duo finished with a time of 3:29.819. Sweden won the race with a time of 3:13.125, followed by Australia (3:13.239) and New Zealand (3:15.307).

Fournel and Cochrane are preparing for their main event, the men's K-2 200m race, which begins on Friday.

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