Paddlers Balint Kopasz and Adam Varga have won a double victory for Hungary at men's single kayak 1000m event held in the Sea Forest Waterway today 3 August.
Kopasz claimed gold after an impressive run at around 500m, breaking Portugal's Fernando Pimenta's early lead to win and record an Olympic best time of 3:20.643.
Meanwhile, his teammate Varga, who was on third position in the first few quarters of the race, surged ahead at around 750m past Pimenta to cross the finish line at 3:22.431, clinching silver.
Pimenta settled for bronze after clocking a time of 3:22.478.
“It is a very, very good feeling. I felt confident I was going to get on the podium because in 2019 I actually won here, at this venue,” Kopasz, now an Olympic gold medallist, said.
“My coach told me this was going to be a good year for me and I pictured getting a gold medal against very, very strong opponents so this is a very nice feeling for me."
Kopasz didn't forget to thank his family after his maiden victory at an Olympic Games.
“Of course it must be a very nice feeling for my family as well, since (I am) winning the kayak 1000m, which is the most important men’s event. I am very fortunate because both my mother and my father were kayakers so I have very good genes.”
Hungarian teammate Varga was equally ecstatic about his victory.
“I am so happy to have this silver medal in my hand. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it. It is such a special feeling to stand on the podium, with my teammate, in first and second place. I hope this is also a special feeling for my friends as well," the 21-year-old athlete said.
“Thank you to my supporters that were able to wake up so early to watch me.”
Despite losing the gold and silver position, the Pimenta has now been able to erase his Rio 2016 disappointment with his bronze medal victory at Tokyo 2020.
"Mix of emotions. I am so happy to take a medal. In this Olympic cycle, I take in every European or world championship in K1 1000 I have medals and so to finish this Olympic cycle with a medal is so important," the 31-year-old athlete said.
“It is just the start of my beautiful career and I hope that in three years in Paris I can fight another time for medals. I will fight, I will work hard the next three years because this bronze is just the start. I am young.”
Pimenta can now add his bronze medal to his trophy medal cabinet along with the silver medal he won in the K2 1000m event at London 2012.