Canoeing: Dawson brings up rear in semifinal

By Greg Taipari

The Olympics turned out to be two gates too far for Tauranga paddler Mike Dawson this morning.

Competing in front of a 12,500 strong crowd, Dawson didn't make it past the semifinals of the men's canoe slalom at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Despite a strong start, ultimately Dawson's Olympics came to an end at gate 19 of the 23 gate course.

Fifteen paddlers were vying for a place in the 10 man final and like two other competitors Ireland's Eoin Rheinisch and Swiss Mike Kurt, Dawson missed gate 19 ending any chance of making the final.

Dawson failed to qualify for the finals after being penalized 100 seconds for missing two gates.

This time, Dawson's mother had nothing to do with it.

Kay Dawson, a judge for the event, penalized her son two seconds for hitting a gate on Sunday.

Mike Dawson still qualified for the semifinals, but he missed a wave toward the end of his run and failed to go through two consecutive gates.

Each miss cost him 50 seconds, putting Dawson in last place. But Kay Dawson was stationed at an earlier gate, which Mike passed through without any issues.

"It's a sport with so many variables. It's real easy to make mistakes, especially when you're racing semifinals and you're pushing everything to get one of those elusive 10 spots which fill up pretty fast," Dawson said. "There's no holding back and trying to play it safe."

Known affectionately by his mates as "Mutant", the Waiariki Institute of Technology's Sports Academy student had to watch from the bank of the man-made course as Italy's Daniele Molmenti won in a time of 93.43s to take gold, with Czech Republic's Vavrinec Hradilek and Germany's Hannes Aigner taking silver and bronze respectively.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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