Defending Olympic champion Liam Heath had to settle for bronze as Sandor Totka held off a late surge from Manfredi Rizza to claim gold in the Men’s Kayak Single 200m final.
European champion Totka has been the form kayaker this year and showed his class at the Sea Forest Waterway to win the final in a time of 35.035.
Tokyo 2020
‘My family are the ones making the real sacrifices’ – Heath after bronze medal showing
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Rizza came home 0.045 seconds behind the Hungarian to claim the silver medal.
In winning the race, Totka has become the last ever Olympic men’s K1 200m champion as the event has not been included in the programme for Paris 2024.
Heath had qualified second fastest in the semi-finals but paid for a slow start in the showpiece race. He finished the final in 35.202, 0.167 seconds behind the winner and just 0.115 ahead of Kolos Csizmadia in fourth.
Bronze is the British kayaker’s second at a Games, and his fourth Olympic medal in total, having come third in the K2 200m final at London 2012 before winning silver in that event and gold in the K1 200m at Rio 2016.
Eurosport commentator Malcolm Johnson praised a “fantastic gold medal winning performance” from Totka, but believes that Heath should be proud of his effort in Tokyo.
“Liam had a lot to do, he didn’t have the perfect start,” Johnson said of the 36-year-old Briton’s race.
“When he reflects on that he’ll realise picking up that bronze medal was quite an achievement from him.”
Johnson added: “Not the best start but what a performance through the middle of the course to hold his nerve and come back through the field.”

‘My family are the ones making the real sacrifices’ – Heath after bronze medal showing

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