Andrew Alderson

Andrew Alderson is a sport writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Olympics: Kiwi kayakers finish seventh

Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald raced admirably but finished up in seventh place in the final of the men's K-2 1000 final. Source / Brett Phibbs NZ Herald
Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald raced admirably but finished up in seventh place in the final of the men's K-2 1000 final. Source / Brett Phibbs NZ Herald

The men's K2 1000m kayaking crew of Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald have finished seventh in their final in placid conditions on Dorney Lake.

They struggled from the start and were at the back of the field of human turbines throughout. The speed of the Hungarians, Portuguese and Germans took hold. Hungary won in 3m 09.646s. New Zealand was a further 2.471s back.

The German crew of Martin Hollstein and Andreas Ihle were defending Olympics champions but the Hungarians Rudolf Dombi and Roland Kokeny proved too strong, holding off a charge in the final 100m. Portugal's Fernando Pimenta and Emanuel Silva claimed silver, coming within a bow of gold in lane nine. They missed by 0.055s.

"We started to push through from the middle mark but unfortunately we didn't have enough mustard at the end," Ferguson said.

The result continues Olympic disappointment for 32-year-old Ferguson who in four Games (three representing New Zealand in kayaking and one in swimming) has never made the dais despite being one of the country's supreme athletes.

He has not ruled out continuing.

"I'm only 32 so I've got plenty of time left. I'm definitely open to it. I haven't shut that door, I'll just have to go home to re-evaluate.

"The Olympics define who I am. There have only been 30 Games and Fergusons have been at nine of them [father Ian five, Steven four]. However I've also got a nine-month old little boy to consider these days."

This was Ferguson's fourth final in canoe sprint racing. His best remains sixth in the K2 1000m with Mike Walker in Beijing.

In contrast it is Fitzgerald's first Olympics. He turns 22 today [August 9]. He's keen to sustain the Ferguson relationship.

"I've definitely got the bug. I'll evaluate this year but as long as you enjoy training and being an athlete, hopefully I've got a few years to come. I really enjoyed the campaign, especially training in Italy in the lead-up. If Steve doesn't stick around I'll probably look to focus on the K1 events."

Former Olympic silver medallist Ben Fouhy finished 6th in the B final of the K1 1000m.

- NZ Herald

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