Maltese Kayak athletes with fine showing at World cups and Olympic qualifiersSunday, June 10, 2012, 7:09
The top male and female athletes of the Malta Canoe Federation; Christopher Camilleri and Nicola Borg Costanzi, recently competed in a number of international flat water sprint events in Poland and Germany which took place between the 16th and 27th of May. Chris Camilleri competed for a post in the Olympic Games, in the European Olympic Qualifier which took place in Poland, after which both athletes competed in World Cup 1 and 2 which took place in Poznan, Poland and Duisburg, Germany consecutively.
Chris Camilleri was competing in the men’s k1 200m sprint events whilst Nicola Borg Costanzi competed in the women’s k1 1000m sprint event in both Poland and Germany, and also in the women’s k1 500m sprint event in Germany.
The Olympic qualification event saw the athletes off in nasty conditions, with a bone chilling 6degrees Celsius air temperature and cross tail winds of 8m/s gusting at 10m/s. These conditions did not bode well for all the competitors given that the racing boats used for competition are designed for flat conditions rather than the present ones. Nonetheless Camilleri made Maltese kayaking historyby gaining a position in the semi-final with a time of 48.008 seconds on the first day of the competitions, ahead of Ireland and Bulgaria in the heats. The following day there was no improvement on the conditions for the semi-finals where Camilleri clocked a time of 44.5 seconds finishing ahead of Montenegro and neck and neck with Moldova. Nonetheless Camilleri failed to gain a spot in the finals and ranked 17th overall in the European qualification.
Immediately after the Olympic qualification event, the first world cup was underway. Here we saw Nicola Borg Costanzi make her international debut in the women’s 1000m k1 heats which took place in the morning. Borg costanzi made Maltese kayaking history and madeit through to the semi-finals with a time of 4:58:131 in less than ideal conditions finishing ahead of Singapore, Samoa and Latvia in the heats. The afternoon saw the athletes off competing head to head in the semi-finals where conditions proved to be quite challenging where athletes had to negotiate gusting cross winds along with sprinting for a spot in the finals. Borg Costanzi finished with a time of 5:20:001 failing to gain a spot in the finals.
Day 2 of the world cup in Poznan, saw Chris compete in the men’s 200m K1 heats. Still recovering from the Olympic qualifier and with 5m/s head winds, Camilleri clocked a time of 44:9s and finished ahead of Singapore, Thailand, Seychelles, Algeria 1&2, Montenegro and Egypt. Even so Camilleri’s performance was not up to scratch and failed to make the Semis.
Following a recovery day, the athletes travelled to Duisburg, Germany where they started their preparations for the second world cup. From the start, ideal water conditions and warmer weather were a welcome sight. The first event was the women’s k1 500m heats where Nicola registered a time of 2:23:885 finishing ahead of Senegal but failing to gain a spot in the semis. During her race, Borg Costanzi had to brace hard due to a strong cross wind at the 250m mark, where she strained her back muscles. Just an hour later, Borg Costanzi shrugged off the pain to sail through to the semis in the 1000m k1 women’s sprint with a time of 4:53:697. Following a massage and some well-deserved rest, Nicola competed in the semi-final and further improved her time to 4:51:962 but failed to make it through the stiff competition for a spot in the finals.
Day 2 of the second world cup saw the 200m events take place. Camilleri set a new national record for the distance with a time of 41.7 seconds finishing 6th in his heat ahead of Egypt, Seychelles and Tajikistan and earning a spot in the semis. Just an hour later Camilleri competed in a tough semi-final where he finished 9th with a time of 41.9s and a world ranking spot of 36.
The Malta Canoe Federation would like thank the Maltese Olympic Committee and the KunsillMaltiGhall-Isport for their continued support towards Kayaking. Furthermore the Malta Canoe Federation would like to congratulate the Maltese athletes for their fine showing at these competitions. Over the years a marked improvement was shown and further improvement is anticipated for future competitions, especially with the attainment of international technical support which was offered to the Maltese athletes following their good performances.