Bird Eighth in Olympic Final

Canoe|Kayak - Sprint | Published: Sun 21 August 2016
Canoe Sprint: Men’s K1 200m A Final | Men’s C2 1000m B Final
Athlete: Stephen Bird, Ferenc Szekszardi
Venue: Lagoa Stadium

WA kayaker Stephen Bird has finished eighth in the final of the men’s K1 200m at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The dual Olympian was up against some of the best K1 kayakers in the world including World Champion Mark de Jonge from Canada and the in form Liam Heath from Great Britain.

Having qualified fourth fastest for the final, Bird clocked 36.426sec for eighth place, with Heath taking out the win, followed by Maxime Beaumont from France, with Spain’s Saul Craviotto and Germany’s Ronald Rauhe sharing bronze.

Post race, Bird said he had given his best account, in what was a second career Olympic A Final.

"I found a great rhythm at the start and dug away at it for the first 15 metres,” he said. "I did feel that I didn’t transition into that mid-race pace as well as I could of, but all my strokes were solid and that’s what I could give this morning.

The South African born West Aussie, now plans to take a sabbatical from the sport to re-asses his goals.

"I’m going to take a year off after this and reassess ahead of Tokyo depending on what happens in regards to boats coming in or going out in the next cycle.”

In the B-Final of the men’s C2 1000m, Martin Marinov and Ferenc Szekszardi finished in second place, to be ranked 10th overall. A fantastic effort from a crew that had only been training and competing together for a few months.

Lucy Benjamin