Posted: Sunday, August 1, 2021. 10:52 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Amado Cruz crossed the finish line in 4 minutes, 15.262 seconds in the 6th position in the K1 1000m canoeing sprint quarterfinals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Sunday evening (Monday morning in Japan).
This was a second shot at qualifying to the semifinals, but unfortunately Cruz could not make it that far though he made history for Belize since he is the first Belizean to compete in canoeing at any Olympics.
The winner of the heat was Artuur Peters of Belgium who was timed at 3:45.712. Peters and Samuele Burgo of Italy who clocked 3:45.993 qualified to the semifinal round.
In the preliminary heat earlier on Sunday night (Monday morning in Japan), Amado Cruz was 5th in 4 minutes, 13.080 seconds.
The winner of that heat Aleh Yurenia of Belarus clocked 3:43.444.
As in the quarterfinals, only the top two qualified to the semifinals.
Knut Holmann of Norway holds the Olympic record of 3:25.785 which he set on August 3, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
“I feel happy to get this far in kayaking and to be the first to represent Belize in the kayak event,” Amado said. “Happy to make this far to the Olympics.”
After the first race, Amado said he started out too fast and intended to make adjustments for the second race.
“In the 1000m, you’ve got to pick a rhythm when you start paddling and try to maintain that, but the way I went today I started well but I couldn’t keep up to the rhythm I started with and slowed down during the race. I will start at a slower pace that I can hold throughout the race,” he said.
When asked what paddlers from other countries have over Belize, he said we need the right equipment and coaching.
“The other countries they are at a higher level, they train for this a lot, they have the proper equipment, they race often, and they have everything that we don’t have, coaches, equipment.”
“First of all, you need a lot of training, you need the right equipment, and a coach. The most important thing is a kayak in which you can sit in and be comfortable in and a coach who can give you the right tips and so on.”
So, what does Belize need to be ready for the next Olympics?
“So far we don’t have a coach in Belize. It would be nice if we can get a coach because Belize has a lot of talent, a lot of paddlers who can be here as well and represent Belize. We just need a coach and some kayaks. That’s what we need. We can start off from there and move on to these events.”
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