Adam van Koeverden, Mark Oldershaw come up short at Pan Am Games

Though the Pan Am Games were not the most important competition on their 2015 calendars, Canadian paddlers Adam van Koeverden and Mark Oldershaw didn't earn the medals they wanted on Monday.

Canadians disappointed for not winning gold in respective events

WELLAND, Ont. — Adam van Koeverden wanted to win a gold medal at home, no doubt about it.

So finishing third and claiming a bronze in the men's K1000-metre race at the Pan American Games an hour down the road from where he began his kayaking career was bittersweet.

The truth of the matter, however, is this was not the race the veteran kayaker has his eye on this season.

"Ultimately the most important race [the world championship] we have this year is August 20 in Milan [Italy] and we're more than four weeks away from that," the Oakville, Ont., native said. "I thought I'd have a better final 100 metres so I am a little disappointed, but any disappointment is overshadowed by the honour and privilege I feel to represent our country here."

The August race is the Olympic qualifier for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

Van Koeverden's Burloak Canoe Club teammate and Canada's Pan Am Games flag-bearer, Mark Oldershaw, fared a little better as he won a silver medal in the men's C1000m race.

The 33-year-old van Koeverden was careful to not down play the importance of the Pan Am Games, saying a good result in the Games was a part of his process.

It just wasn't his day.

Announcing faux pas

Van Koeverden said, strategically, he did exactly what he wanted in the race, but his body didn't react the way he hoped in the final 200 metres. In a strange turn of events, announcer Geoff Laplante, who was calling the play-by-play of the race, all but awarded van Koeverden the gold medal halfway through the race when he announced, "he's got the 1000-metre race nailed," causing the crowd to gasp. Van Koeverden said he did not hear the announcement. Nor did he care about the faux pas.

"I was patient at the start and I didn't go out like crazy," van Koeverden said. "I have been doing a lot of base training lately – a lot of middle-of-the-race work. The lactate tolerance stuff will come a little bit later. I have five weeks to tune up for that final race."

Van Koeverden said the hot weather, coupled with the fact they were racing into a headwind made it a difficult race.

"I was feeling faint at the finish line," he declared. "I'm usually fine in the heat, but not today. It was exhausting. I think it's just where my training is at now."

Jorge Garcia of Cuba won the K1000m in three minutes, 40.990 seconds, with Daniel Dal Bo of Argentina second in 3:42.019. Van Koeverden's time was 3:43.055.

Oldershaw settles for silver

Meanwhile, Oldershaw said he knew he was in for a tough race and he was not surprised to finish behind Isaqulas Queiroz Dos Santos of Brazil.

"He always gets out fast and I knew that so I tried to not let it affect me," Oldershaw said. "I was actually happy with how close I was to him in the first half. The wind was actually a lot strong than it looks. I started to make my move the last 300 metres. I started to catch him at 200 metres and I could hear the crowd. With 100 metres left he just held me off and I didn't have enough."

Oldershaw, a native of neighboring Burlington, Ont., added: "He came to Canada and beat me on my water so next year I'm going to go and try to beat him on his."

Queiroz Dos Santos finished in 4:07.886 while Oldershaw's time was 4:09.587. Jose Cristobal of Mexico was third in 4:14.572.

Oldershaw said having so many friends and family in attendance gave him a boost. He was disappointed he was unable to give them a golden performance.

"You can really hear the crowd," Oldershaw said. "I was surprised how early I heard the noise. Sound travels over water so well that I could them starting to cheer. At the same time I had to stay focused in my race because I knew it was a long one and I knew if I went too early I wouldn't have enough left at the end."

Oldershaw said he was feeling good in the final 300 metres.

"I started to move on him and I could hear the crowd and with every stroke I was feeling better and better, but then I hit the wall with 100 or 75 [metres] to go," he said.


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