Hungarian kayaker Danuta Kozak fought off a fearsome pack of competitors to successfully defend her Olympic title in the women’s K-1 500 metres final on Thursday.
Kozak, 29, claimed the fifth Olympic medal of her career and her second gold of the Rio Games in one minute 52.49 seconds, while Emma Jorgensen of Denmark took silver.
Kozak, who also won Tuesday’s women’s K-2 500 metres, will seek a rare triple gold in a single Olympics, returning on Friday for the K-4 500 metres heat.
New Zealand’s Lisa Carrington, who won gold in the women’s kayak single 200 metres on Tuesday, uncharacteristically struggled throughout the race.
She languished behind much of the pack at the halfway point, before battling back to claim bronze in the final stretch.
Carrington called the 500-metre race “a really tricky distance”.
“Basically, I was just trying to use my energy effectively,” Carrington said.
Thursday’s field featured five different Olympic medal holders.
Maryna Litvinchuk, a member of Belarus’s 2012 bronze medal-winning K-4 team, took fourth place and Germany’s triple medalist, Franziska Weber, was fifth, while five-time Olympic medalist Inna Osipenko-Rodomska, of Azerbaijan, finished last.
Twenty-year-old Jorgensen, paddling in her first Olympics, said she focused on her own race to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the quality of her competition.
“I have to be relaxed. They are pretty fast, all of them,” Jorgensen said in a post-race press conference. “(I) just focus on my things and not what they are doing.
“I know my training was good. It’s nice to beat them.”