For the first time since 1991, a Canadian pair reached the C-2 podium at the Junior World Championships. The feat was achieved on Friday in Szeged, Hungary, where Viktor Hardy and Zachary Kralik took silver in the C-2 500m event.
The last podium was achieved by Attila Buday and Mike Orshack in the C-2 1000m at the Worlds in Vienna 31 years ago. Boday, whose father Tama won two bronze medals at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal in the two-seater canoe in the colors of Hungary, competed in three Olympics with his brother Tama Jr. The family moved to Canada a few years later from Montreal. Toys.
With fourth place after qualifying, the duo believed in their chances, but they weren’t necessarily expecting to climb onto the podium.
“We had the best race of our career so far,” Hardy said. After fourth place, we knew we could do well, but we were surprised by our silver. »
“It’s sick of what we just managed to do, chasing Hardy. I realize that a little bit, but I will really realize it after the tournaments. When I crossed the finish line, I definitely screamed. Because 500 meters is an Olympic distance, all the best canoers attended.”
With a time of 1 minute 45 seconds and 43 seconds, the Canadians were only beaten by the Hungarians who were in a class of their own. Ukraine completed the platform.
Frédéric Gubin, coach of the junior national team, who is present in Hungary, was surprised by the silver medal for Hardy and Kralik.
“We didn’t underestimate their potential, but we saw them more between fourth and eighth,” he said. They were very good at C-1 and we were aiming for a place in Final A (top 9). »
Last year, the Canadian duo won gold in the 200m C-2 at the Youth Olympic Games for athletes aged 16-17.
It’s not the same at all,” said the boat rider from the Lac-Beauport Yacht Club. The gap between the two is huge. Not everyone was there last year. »
Make your eyes wide
Hardy hopes this silver medal will make the eyes of the leaders of Canoe Kayak Canada (CKC) widen.
“After our race, we very much believed that this medal could open doors for us. It gives us hope for the future. We hope we can continue training together. We found out about CKC. They were surprised by our podium, but they are also proud.”
Along with Peter Bradley and Austin Pigeon, Hardy and Kralik will return to action on Saturday in the C-4 500m final.
He explained: “We are three out of four left-handed players and that will make it more difficult for us, but it is possible to do well. I think we can surprise.”
At U 23, Alix Plomteux, of the Lac-Beauport club, and his partner Tyler Laidlaw finished eighth in the same event.
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