Top racing at the ECA European Canoe Sprint Juniors & U23 Championships 2016, 14th-17th July. Magnus Gregory and Luke Harding from Longridge Canoe Club were representing GB Juniors in the 1000m event being held at Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
From Lane 8 of Heat 2 they made their intentions clear, they were going fast. Of the three heats, Heat 2 was faster than the others (by a few seconds), but only the winning boat from each heat was going straight to the final, regardless of time, so they needed to battle with Slovakia who clearly wanted that spot too. In the end GBR snatching just 0.61s to guarantee the place in the final.
The Slovakian crew subsequently made it through their semi-finals and secured their place back into the finals against the Longridge Juniors, only this time with the lane allocations swapped, outer to inner and vice versa. In fact 4 of the 9 boats on this start line had originally been in heat 2.
If video evidence of Magnus & Luke once they were across the finish line tells the whole story, then it proves that they put everything into the race. And the reward was confirmed with the top step of the podium and Gold Medals with a time of 3:14.712, more than 12 seconds faster than their heat, and in a repeat of the Heat 2 finish order they were joined by Slovakia in 2nd and Hungary 3rd.
Of course other GBR boats also featured in the Championships, the reaction of Nick Daniels sums this up “First time British Canoeing has had a Sprint result like this in 20 years, brilliant result”.