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Canoeist breaks 4:00 in K1

Wednesday 19 August 2009 | Published in Regional

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Wednesday 19: Cook Islands canoe sprinter Josh Utanga missed out on qualifying for the finals of the men’s K1 1000m sprint in Halifax, Canada, but was happy to break the 4 minute barrier coming home in 3 minutes 59 seconds to finish 8th in his semi final race.

Even though he missed out on a finals spot, Utanga had his own race plan at last weekend’s event.

“I knew I was up against some pretty quick paddlers, so I just set a goal to break the 4 minutes. That was my focus for the race and I managed to do it which was great,” says Utanga.

In his first ever competitive canoe competition, the Gold Coast based Cook Islander has been happy with his achievements.

“I wasn’t really given a chance of getting out of the heats because I have only been in a sprint canoe for 10 weeks and was up against some seasoned campaigners here, so I guess I have exceeded my own expectations.”

He has attracted interest from local media for his efforts being interviewed after his semi finals.

“I have never been interviewed after a race before, but I think it was good for the Cook Islands to be recognised. I even had a section of the crowd cheering for me which was a bit weird but nice.”

This week Utanga lines up for his final race of the competition in the Men’s K1 200m heats. - CICA