Olympics: Ferguson and Fitzgerald in canoe final

By Michael Brown

Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald in the men's kayak double are through to the final of their event at the London Olympics. Source / Brett Phibbs NZ Herald
Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald in the men's kayak double are through to the final of their event at the London Olympics. Source / Brett Phibbs NZ Herald

It's familiar territory for a Ferguson to be in but will be new for Darryl Fitzgerald after he combined with Steven Ferguson to qualify for Wednesday night's final of the K2 1000m.

Ferguson, son of four-time Olympic champion Ian Ferguson who is also their coach, competed at the 2000 Olympics as a swimmer but has contested three finals in canoe sprint racing before.

His best was sixth in the K2 1000m with Mike Walker in Beijing four years ago but, while Ferguson and Fitzgerald believe they have enough speed to medal in London, it would take something special to get on the podium this time with some classy crews from the likes of Germany and Hungary.

The pair will also hope the wind that played such a big hand during the rowing regatta at Eton Dorney won't influence the canoe sprint racing finals. Ferguson and Fitzgerald finished third in their semifinal tonight (NZT) and will claim one of the two outside lanes, meaning they will be shifted to one of the worst lanes if the wind blows.

"We buttoned off at the end there,'' the 32-year-old Ferguson said. "We weren't going to get the top spot [in the semifinal] so there was no point in making it hard for yourself.

"We didn't have a doubt in our minds we weren't going to get through. We have been training pretty hard to follow a race plan to be consistent and work towards something rather than just going out there and not knowing what to expect.

"We will hope the wind doesn't come into play too much. We are happy to make the final. It's Darryl's first final. The family are all here and they get to watch us another day and everyone at home will be able to stay up another night.''

Former world champion Ben Fouhy effectively ended his career on a sour note when he finished sixth in his semifinal of the K1 1000m and then launched another broadside at high performance sport officials New Zealand. He is down to compete in Wednesday's B final but might not have the appetite for it considering it was not the way he hoped he would end his career.

World champion Lisa Carrington gets her Olympic campaign under way tonight (NZT) when she teams up with Erin Taylor in the K2 500m while Teneale Hatton will race in the K1 500m. Carrington's best chances are in the K1 200m, which start on Friday night (NZT).

- NZ Herald

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