I have been challenged to explain what exactly does the Punters Guide mean exactly. Well it appears to be more of a UK term around placing a bet on a race, usually horse racing but there are similar references to golf and several other sports. There is also some interesting nostalgic reference to this Punters Guide term. Penny Briscoe and I wrote a Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Great Britain Canoe Slalom Team guide including the …Punters Guide to Olympic Form…
This contains some interesting perspective too in reference to these current London Olympics. Amongst our ‘Punters Guide to Olympic Form’ written in the year 2000, we identified Stepanka Hilgertova, Paul Ratcliffe, Michal Martikan, Tony Estanguet and Pavol & Peter Hochschorner as possible medal contenders.
Well, we hope you followed our advice as Stepanka Hilgertova in K1W and Pavol and Peter Hochschorner in C2 won gold in Sydney! Even more impressive to appreciate is that we expect them to be racing in the 2012 Olympics, twelve years after Sydney in 22 days time. I note too that two of the GB Team coaches from 2000 will be doing live race commentary at Lee Valley and several of the Team GB Sydney Olympic paddlers are themselves coaching the GB Olympic team paddlers, including the Sydney Olympic silver medallist Paul Ratcliffe.
So enough of history, what can we predict for London 2012? The Hochschorners (Slovakia) will be aiming for a historic forth consecutive Olympic gold in C2, having won in Sydney, Athens and Beijing. Can’t write them off as they enter Lee Valley for the heat on July 30th as reigning Olympic Champions, World Champions and at the end of June 2012 ranked 1 by the International Canoe Federation (ICF). There are 12 other C2 crews competing and capable of a win. I recommend the Planet Canoe Facebook page where you will find an interesting interview with Pavol and Peter about their ‘quest’ for a 4th successive gold. fb.me/AYl4QRXV
In other classes, Michal Martikan from Slovakia and Tony Estanguet from France have been trading Olympic & World Championship gold and silver medals. Michal first won Olympic gold in Atlanta, Tony won gold in Athens then Michal again won gold in Beijing. As an indicator to the competition for Olympic places, the C1 2011 World Championship gold, silver and bronze medallists in C1 have not qualified for London2012! Great Britian’s C1 paddler, David Florence enters as the ICF rank number 1 and will be the last C1 off the start in the heat on July 29th. There are several Mens and Womens kayak paddlers in strong contention for an Olympic medal. In K1M, Peter Kauzer from Slovenia is current World Champion and ICF ranked 1. Togo paddler Benjamin Boukpeti is the only previous Mens K1 Olympic medallist in the field. Italian Daniele Molmenti, coached by 1992 Olympic champion Pierpaolo Ferrazzi, was a previous World Champion from Tacen in 2010. In K1W, as mentioned above Stepanka has remarkable race consistency under pressure. Jana Dukatova from Slovakia, which is actually the most successful Olympic canoe slalom nation, was the 2011 World Championship silver medallist and current ICF ranked number 1 with Corinna Kuhnle from Austria is the reigning World Champion. It is impossible not to highlight Australian Jessica Fox, the only just 18 year old former Singapore 2000 Youth Olympic champion. Those from the olden days of canoe slalom can’t help to recognise the name Fox. Jessica’s parents, Richard and Myriam won a staggering 18 World Championship gold medals. If Jessica doesn’t medal in London, you would not bet against her to win gold in one or more of the next 4 Olympics!!
The Sportscene website includes their January 2012 prediction although not all the paddlers they include have qualified. They do unsurprisingly pick out Michal Martikan, Peter Kauzer, Jana Dukatova and Pavol & Peter Hochschorner as their punters favourite picks.
Tomorrow’s post will review the 7 GB Team athletes who have qualified for London2012. As a side note, the Olympic torch will come to Lee Valley tomorrow where 15 year old GB Junior paddler Zachary Franklin will run with the torch and 23 year old C1 paddler Mark Proctor will carry the torch through Chelmsford. Good luck Zachary and Mark. Please shares pictures.