Paddler Mark de Jonge wins gold at worlds
Gold and world record at Moscow championships 'pretty awesome'
Paddler Mark de Jonge is returning to Halifax with a gold medal and a world record from the world championships in Moscow.
"It's a pretty awesome feeling," he told CBC News on Sunday.
De Jonge, 30, set a world record in the K1 200-metre semifinal at the 2014 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships on Saturday.
His time of 33.945 seconds beat the previous International Canoe Federation record set in 1992.
Everything was on the right track for a win today- Mark de Jonge
De Jonge executed his race plan just like he imagined it. It was a good sign going in to Sunday's final.
"Everything was on the right track for a win today," he said.
Setting a world record left de Jonge both excited and anxious. He managed to get a good night's sleep, and even thought of putting a medal around his neck.
Podium, sunbeam and me
Sunday morning, in an attempt to relax before the final, de Jonge drew a picture of himself on a podium.
"I drew this podium that stretched up into the clouds with sunbeams coming down on the winner, and that was the last thing I did before I went onto the water for my race," he said.
De Jonge's race went according to plan.
He had a good lead going in to the last 50 metres, then the fatigue hit.
"I was starting to feel a bit like Gumby in the last 25 metres, just hoping that I could hold everything together," he said.
For years I've dreamed of this moment- Mark de Jonge
He did. He crossed the line, looked around and knew he won.
"Then I started just enjoying the moment," he said.
New record set in final
De Jonge finished the race with a time of 33.961 seconds, slightly off his record time in Saturday's semifinal. But it counts as the new record because it's from the final.
"For years I've sort of dreamed of this moment," he said.
De Jonge, who trains at the Maskwa Aquatic Club, has a bronze medal from the 2012 Olympics in London. He won silver at last year's world championships.
He's looking ahead to next year's world championships and the 2016 Olympics in Rio deJaneiro.
But in the short term, de Jonge is focusing on a wedding plan instead of a race plan.
He's getting married at the end of the month.