In a final of strong emotions until the last paddle, the Portuguese canoeist from SL Benfica was 3rd in K1 1000 meters.
What emotions in the fight for gold! At 4:27 am this Tuesday, August 3, Fernando Pimenta, SL Benfica canoeist, crossed the finish line in 3rd place in the K1 1000 meters final of the Olympic Games (3:22.478) and celebrated the achievement of the bronze medal, the third for Portugal in Tokyo.
Glued to the television, we canceled the geography and the thousands of kilometers away for the “Sea Forest Waterway”, in Japan, following, in each paddle, the performance of the champion Fernando Pimenta.
Sliding on track four (at the second start, as there was a false start), the canoeist completed the first 250 meters in front (47.37 seconds) and crossed at 500 and 750 meters in 2nd position, behind the Hungarian Balint Kopasz, who would take the gold.
The last 250 of the 1000 meters of race were heart-pounding for those who watched, and the composition of the podium was only refined in the “photo finish”. Fernando Pimenta finished in 3rd place (3:22.478) and won the bronze, while Adam Varga (3:22.431) was second and also Hungarian Balint Kopasz (3:20.643) first. Out of the medals (4th) was the German Jacob Schopf (3:22.554).
To reach the decisive race, Fernando Pimenta started by winning the first round in 3:40,323 minutes, progressing directly to the semi-finals, where he would have (more) a sensational performance: he won his series and broke the K1 Olympic record , with a time of 3:22,942 minutes. The canoeist was ready for one of the medals, which he would reach after a little more than two hours.
This is Fernando Pimenta’s second medal in the Olympic Games, after the silver in K2 1000 meters in the London edition, in 2012. With this feat, the Benfica canoeist joins Carlos Lopes, Rosa Mota and Fernanda Ribeiro in the restricted lot of Portuguese athletes who won two medals at the Olympics.
DECLARATIONS TO RTP
Fernando Pimenta: “Above all, I feel happy. The two Hungarians were stronger and faster, had an excellent race, I couldn’t win. I did my best, I left here with a super calm conscience, I showed my value. In the cycle Olympic, I’ve always been in the medals at the Worlds and Europeans, I was the most regular athlete. I can’t be happier. My career has just started, I have to keep working harder and better, creating the dream of more Games.”
“I’m here to represent the Portuguese and Portugal. I know there was a dream for Pimenta to be an Olympic champion. This is not over yet, this was an Olympic cycle, the next one is missing. Pimenta is here for the curves. I’ve already started thinking about 2032, which will be in Australia. As long as I have physical and mental strength, you can count on me. There have been thousands of messages of support from all the Portuguese. I have to thank my coach, the entire structure of the Federation for the support, to Sport Lisboa and Benfica, to the Olympic Committee, to all the Limians, to my family…”
“I wanted more, I dreamed of more, I prepared myself to get here and fight for the gold. That’s what I did. The two Hungarians were stronger, congratulations. If the competition were repeated in 30 minutes, probably the constitution of the The podium would be different, even because the athletes who were right behind were very close. Portugal has three medals, but I think there is still more to come.”
Text: João Sanches
Photos: Olympic Committee of Portugal
Last Updated: August 3, 2021
@ SL Benfica