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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Belarus comes from behind to win Olympic gold in canoe double 1000m

Andrei Bahdanovich and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich of Belarus compete in the Canoe double (C2) 1000m men final of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games Canoe/Kayak Flatwater event in Beijing, China, Aug. 22, 2008. The pair of Belarus clinched the gold medal in this event with a time of 3:36.365. (Xinhua/Jiang Enyu)

Belarus came from behind to win the men's canoe double 1,000 meters race at the Olympic Games in the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park on Friday.

Andrei and Aliaksandr Bahdanovich upset defending Olympic champion Germany to win a thrilling race in 3 minutes and 36.365 seconds, 0.223 seconds ahead of Christian Gille and Thomasz Wylenzek.

The Germans, who took world titles in 2005 and 2007, led all the way but were surpassed by Belarus brothers in the last meters.

Gyorgy Kozmann and Tomas Kiss of Hungary took bronze in 3:40.258. Chinese crew of Chen Zhongyun and Zhang Zhiwu came in fifth place.

"We felt good and were prepared for the race. We were not afraid of Germany going ahead at the beginning. We were planning to get ahead at the end," Andrei Bahdanovich said in excitement.

"We were physically fit in this final and now we have made our goal come true."

Germany's Gille cited illness as the reason for their losing to Belarus. "I think we can be happy with the silver. I was ill yesterday and it was questionable if I could start today," he said.

"Due to my illness we weren't able to finish the race to our true potential."

A bronze was a huge surprise for Hungary's Kozmann. He paired with new partner Tamas Kiss after his former crew member Gyorgy Kolonics died during the Games build-up in mid July. The 30-year-old teamed with Kolonics to win the bronze in the C2 1,000 meters in Athens.

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