It was a great day for Ukrainian canoeists at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games who won two gold medals. The Polish women’s K4 500 also successfully defended their European champions title, with the Italians winning their first medal in C2 500.
The hero of the day was Liudmyla LUZAN (UKR) who successfully defended her double European champion title by snatching the third consecutive continental gold at the Kryspinow Waterway. LUZAN won the Canadian Double over 500 metres together with her new partner Valeriia TERETA (UKR) by finishing 0.273 seconds ahead of the Spanish boat (Maria CORBERA, Antia JACOME). Bronze medal was won by the Hungarian duo Giada BRAGATO and Bianka NAGY.
“I am very satisfied with how we paddled and that we won the gold medal. It is my third consecutive gold medal, but what makes this even more valuable is the fact that there is a war going on in our country and this is how we are showing that we are a great and strong nation,” said LUZAN.
Ukrainians had an additional reason to celebrate with Oleh KUHARYK and Ihor TRUNOV winning the gold medal in men’s K2 500 metres by dominating the race from the start. The battle for the remaining two places on the podium brought the excitement to a boil. The German crew won the silver, with Felix FRANK taking his second European silver in a row with his new partner Martin HILLER, with the Serbians Ervin HOLPERT and Marko DRAGOSAVLJEVIC winning the bronze.
The Italians Gabriele CASADEI and Carlo TACCHINI triumphed in men’s Canadian Double 500 metres race. The Italian duo managed to gain momentum in the middle of the race and to take over the lead in the race from the reigning world champions Cayetano GARCIA (ESP) and Pablo MARTINEZ (ESP) who finished second.
“It was a very competitive race from the beginning. We did a very good start which is not really our strong suit. We did great in the middle of the race and managed to do an awesome finish which is probably the thing that separates us from the other crews. The reason behind it is the fact that both of us have previously competed at 1000 metres events and this is probably what helped us a lot in the race,” said CASADEI.
The bronze medal was won by the Polish crew, Aleksander KITEWSKI and Norman ZEZULA.
The hosts of this year’s European Games had an additional reason to celebrate with the women’s K4 500 metres crew winning the gold medal. Karolina NAJA, Anna PULAWSKA, Adrianna KAKOL and Dominika PUTTO climbed to the highest position on the podium and thus defended their Munich 2022 title with almost a second in front of the other crews.
“It was our race, from start ‘till the end. Before the race we spoke with girls and we told to each other that we need to focus on ourselves, on our job to be done. And we did it. We are the gold medallists of European Games. We are extremely happy for that,” said Anna PULAWSKA.
The German boat (Paulina PASZEK, Jule HAKE, Katinka HOFMANN, Lena ROEHLINGS) won the silver, with the Danish crew (Frederikke MATTHIESEN, Sara MILTHERS, Katrine JENSEN, Bolette IVERSEN) taking the bronze.
The Ukrainian team now leads the medal table in the European Championships with two gold medals. Poland is in the second place with a gold and a bronze, in front of Italy with one gold medal. Germany and Spain have two silver medals each, with Serbia, Denmark and Hungary with one bronze each.
All results as well as the schedule for the afternoon session of the second day of canoe sprint competition can be found here.
European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 is the Europe’s biggest multidisciplinary sporting event in 2023. More than 7 thousand athletes are competing in 26 sports and 29 disciplines for 253 gold medals. More than that, European Games 2023 are part of the qualification process for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 in 19 sports. This great celebration of sports started on 21st of June. The closing ceremony will take place on July 2nd.