Hungary cruised to victory in the first semi-final of the Women's Kayak Double 500m, but if they’d glanced to their right they would have seen Slovenia capsize metres from the line.
Dora Bodonyi and Danuta Kozac were a class apart, but the battle was on for the other three qualifying spots for the final.
Slovenia were well off the pace at the halfway mark, but Anja Osterman and Spela Ponomarenko Janic upped their stroke rate and were closing fast.
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Whether their pace unbalanced them is not clear, but as they put in a final push to claim a qualifying spot, their boat tipped to the right and they sank from view.
“First four only to go through… Ooh that is so close, and the Slovenians capsize before the line! They were so close to qualifying,” said David Goldstrom on Eurosport commentary.
Malcolm Johnson added: “Wow. The Slovenians were going well towards the finish, but this is the thing about K2, it starts to rock and roll towards the end. That’s when all those hours of training come into play, working in unison. Thankfully these two are okay.”
Both kayakers were quickly above water and pulled to safety by marshalls.
Their hopes of Olympic glory were dashed; their pride was certainly bruised. But they say the best thing to do after a fall is to saddle back up.
Osterman and Ponomarenko-Janic will do that in the B final later on Tuesday.
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