Monday, March 12, 2012

PanAm Wrap-Up from CTV

Ford Secures Olympic Berth for Canada

Posted Monday, March 12, 2012 11:08 AM ET
Emily Sadler, Staff
Canadian slalom kayaker David Ford clinched an Olympic berth for Canada on Sunday at the Pan American Championships in Foz do Iguassu, Brazil.

Ford, a five-time Olympian from Edmonton, Alta., placed first in the Men’s K-1, earning Canada its only Olympic berth in slalom Canoe/Kayak for London 2012. His teammates, Paul Manning Hunter and John Hastings, finished just outside the podium, in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Ford's best Olympic result was a fourth-place finish in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
This weekend’s competition was the final chance to qualify Canadian boats for the 2012 Summer Games in London. Team Canada needed to place first in each of the four events in order to earn a spot in the Games.
Canada’s highest-ranked female slalom kayaker, Jessica Groeneveld of Innisfail, Alta., placed second in the Women’s K-1 final, behind 15-year-old Ana Satila Vieira Vargas of Brazil, just missing an Olympic berth.

Vargas, who will be 16 on Tuesday, surprised everyone with her first-place performance to secure a boat for Brazil’s national team in London 2012.

Fellow Canadian Thea Froehlich also landed on the podium with her third-place performance, and teammate Sarah Boudens placed eighth.
Cameron Smedley of Ottawa, Ont., was a close contender for the first-place spot after the semifinals of the Men’s C-1, but a heartbreaking finish put him in third place, with teammate Julian Potvin-Bernal in fifth.
Also competing at this weekend’s championship were brothers and C-2 partners Daniel and Thomas Purcell of Innisfail, Alta., who placed fourth, and Adam and Jamie Cutts of Ottawa, Ont., who placed sixth.
Now that the team has earned a spot in the Summer Games, the next step for Canada’s paddlers is the national qualifying competition in mid-April, when the men’s K-1 squad will compete in a series of time trials for the chance to represent Canada in London 2012.

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