FLATWATER CANOE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
PONTEVEDRA , GALICIA, SPAIN
IRISH LUCKY SEVENTH IN EUROPEAN FINALS
Fleming and Maloney won the K2 1000 meter heat to qualify for Saturday final, in an Irish record of 3 minutes 12 seconds, knocking over three seconds off the time the pair set last year. In setting the fastest time Neil Fleming and Brendan Maloney qualified directly for the European K2 Flatwater Canoe Racing Championships final.
The covered the 1,000 meter course in a time of 3:12:218, the fastest of the day, and substantially faster than their 3.15.87 set last year in the European Championships. In the final, they finished seventh in a race won by the Olympic medallists from Hungary. However, the Irish pair surprised themselves by also making the A-final of the 500m event. Seventh place in this event was also another best ever performance at this level in sprint racing by an Irish crew.
Fleming and Maloney made their breakthrough in 2006 by finishing 11th at the World Championships. This entitled them to a Performance Incentive Payment under the Irish Sports Council's International Carding Scheme.
Brendan, 27, from Malahide is studying Sports Science in DCU. Neil, 23, from Celbridge, Co Kildare, is studying physiology in Trinity College Dublin. Neil is a former world junior marathon champion in flatwater canoe racing.
The crew pioneers Irish canoeing at world level in this event and according to their coach Gabor Kulsar, they are on target for qualification for the 2008 Olympics.
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Issued by the Irish Canoe Union
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