Kazakhstan set to make Olympic slalom history at Tokyo Games
Lausanne, May 2, 2021: Two-time Olympian Yekaterina Smirnova has opened the door for a possible third Olympic Games after earning Kazakhstan a potential Tokyo 2020 canoe slalom quota at the Asian Confederation qualifiers in Thailand on Sunday.
Kazakhstan finished the day with two potential Olympic quotas, which if confirmed by their national federation and the national Olympic committee, will be the first time the country has had two canoe slalom athletes at a Games.
China won the women’s C1, an event which will make its Olympic debut this year, to also earn the right to compete in Tokyo.
Smirnova, who competed in Beijing in 2008 and Rio in 2016, had a faultless run in the final of the women’s K1 on the Pattaya course to finish more than four seconds ahead of Thailand’s Jaruwan Niamthong.
23-year-old Alexandr Kulikov earned Kazakhstan their second potential Olympic quota with victory in the men’s C1. He finished 1.32 seconds ahead of Chinese Taipei’s Chang Yun-Chuan.
It was a Chinese quinella in the women’s C1, with Huang Yanzhimapon edging out her teammate Chen Shi by 2.23 seconds.
The men’s K1 final will contest in Pattaya on Monday. —- ICF