Poor start puts paid to Smith’s medal chances

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Charlie Smith recovered from a poor start to finish a fine seventh in the Kayak Sprint World Championship for Juniors and Under 23 in Romania.

The Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club member was part of the GB team competing in the Junior 1000m K1 event. The championship attracted 65 countries and over 900 competitors to the venue in Bascov, Pitesti.

Charlie’s race was one of the first in the competition, conditions were good and Charlie covered the distance comfortably taking him through to the semi finals in the afternoon. Thirty six paddlers raced in the four Semi’s with only the first two going through to Final A.

A good start saw Charlie at the front with the Serbian paddler and together the led the race for the full 1000m gaining their place in the final. Conditions change dramatically for the final with massive gusting head winds sufficient to blow over the scoreboard.

As expected the line up was impressive with last years world champion Jacob Schopf favourite to take the title again.

Charlie had a bad start missing his first stroke and fought hard to get back into rhythm. Schopf was away fast along with Knudsen the European Champion but all paddlers struggled with the gusting wind.

Charlie battled hard to make up distance but conditions were against him, in the last 200m he felt the full force of the head wind and crossed the line in seventh place.