Sports Short: Medals in Their Wake

In Szeged, Hungary: Canadian paddlers were out in full force at a World Cup in Szeged, Hungary over the weekend, and this nation’s strength in the sport was on display. Team leader, triple Olympic medallist Adam van Koeverden led the way with three medals, two of them gold. The Oakville, Ontario native’s wins came in the K-1 500 metres, and the endurance K-1 5,000 metre event – which debuts at the World Championships this year. Van Koeverden took silver in the K-1 1,000 metres.

It was an interesting Sunday for Richard Dober Jr. (Trois-Rivieres, Que.). He won his first solo kayak World Cup medal, a silver in K-1 200 metres. Then he had no time to participate in the medal ceremony as 20 minutes later he raced the K-2 200 metres – and won a bronze medal with Andrew Willows (Gananoque, Ont.). Canoeist Mark Oldershaw (Burlington, Ont.) captured three medals: silver in C-1 500 metres on Sunday, and two bronze medals in C-1 1,000 and 5,000 metres on Saturday.

Elsewhere, Gabriel Beauchesne-Sevigny (Trois-Rivieres) and Andrew Russell (Dartmouth, N.S.) won silver in C-2 200 metres, a scant 0.04 seconds behind the gold medal time. They were in the difficult lane nine – the outside one – but said they fed off the crowd’s energy and stuck to the basics. Canadian women dominated the C-1 200 metres, as Laurence Vincent-Lapointe (Trois-Rivieres) took home gold followed by Nicole Haywood (Nanaimo, B.C.) in silver medal position. Both could be first-time Olympians in 2012. Congratulations to all Canadian paddlers.

In Bled, Slovenia: Canadian rowers won a trio of medals at a World Cup last weekend on the waters of Lake Bled, Slovenia. Golden were women’s pair Krista Guloien (Port Moody, B.C.) and Toronto’s Ashley Brzozowicz, both 2008 Olympians. Their time of 7:20.60 was more than two seconds faster than the Chinese silver medallists. Also winning gold was lightweight pair Doug Vandor (Dewittville, Que.) and Cam Sylvester (Caledon, Ont.). Their time was more than three seconds faster than second-place Italy.

The men’s four captured Canada’s third medal, a bronze, in 6:09.04 – not far from powerful Great Britain in a gold medal time of 6:06.44. The team: Michael Wilkinson (North Vancouver), Robert Gibson (Kingston), Douglas Csima (Oakville, Ont.) and Fraser Berkhout (St. Catharines, Ont.). It was an encouraging weekend in what is still an early season.

In Paris: Toronto’s Daniel Nestor – a three-time Olympian and 2000 Olympic champion – reached the quarter-finals of the French Open on Sunday. It’s the fourth straight time he’s done so. Nestor and partner Nenad Zimonjic rebounded to defeat the French team of Guillaume Rufin and Alexandre Sidorenko 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3.

In Kirishi, Russia: Canada’s women’s water polo team won their second tournament of the month, this time beating Russia 10-9 in the final of the Kirishi Cup. They were led by Calgary’s Emily Csikos, with three goals.

In Goetzis, Austria: Jessica Zelinka is back. Now a mother, Canada’s top heptathlete competed at her first international meet since giving birth a year ago. Zelinka (London, Ont.) finished 12th at the Hypo Meeting in Austria.