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Harrow-born paddler misses out on final place

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Londoner Richard Hounslow admitted he wasn’t good enough on the day after missing out on a place in the men’s canoe slalom kayak single (K1) final.

Harrow-born Hounslow, 30, incurred a two-second penalty during his semi-final run after hitting gate 19 on the Lee Valley White Water course.

And a time of 104.30 seconds saw him finish 12th, with only the top 10 progressing to the medal round.

Hounslow said: “I’ve got to take responsibility. I didn’t perform today.

“I didn’t know I’d hit the gate, I didn’t feel it and was attacking all the way to the finish.

“But even without it, I wouldn’t have made it through.”

Hounslow was the fifth of 15 paddlers to tackle the rushing waters, following hot on the heels of Ireland’s Eoin Rheinisch, who was left out of the running after taking a 50-second penalty.

But although New Zealand’s Mike Dawson and Mike Kurt, of Switzerland, picked up significant penalties to post slower times, there was no reprieve for Hounslow.

He added: “I haven’t performed to the best of my ability and it’s hard. A little part of you hopes others will mess up. But I knew deep down it wouldn’t happen.

“I came into this ranked 43 in the world, but I paddled very well at the trials to make the Olympics.

“I’ve not found the form I had then and it’s frustrating to know it’s there. It didn’t disappear overnight.”

Hounslow was given plenty of encouragement by the home supporters in a big crowd, but revealed the noise and atmosphere was difficult to deal with.

He added: “It’s tough out there. The crowd is loud and you have to deal with the pressure that comes with it, unfortunately I didn’t.

“But it’s not like swimming or running, where the crowd buoys you on.

“This sport is so technical you can’t use that noise and intensity. If you go too hard, it all goes wrong. It’s a fine balance between attacking the course and not attacking it enough.

“You’ve got to stay controlled, it’s part and parcel of the sport.”

Hounslow, who started paddling back in 1990 and represented his home borough during the London Youth Games as a youngster, has another chance of Olympic glory on home waters, though.

He competes in the semi-final of the canoe double (C2) with David Florence tomorrow and the pair, who have only been paddling together for three years, have already had success on the big stage.

They have won European and World Championship bronze and, in this year’s World Cup series, added a gold in Cardiff.

Hounslow added: “I’ll pull myself back together for the C2, it’s still all to play for.

“Realistically, C2 is where I’ve been medalling the last few years and from the outside looking in, it’s the one people are expecting me to do well in.

“Kayak is what I’ve done all my life and it’s where my heart is. I would’ve loved to come away with a medal and I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow disappointed.

“But once we start to focus on the C2, walk the course and get to the start line, we’ve got a job to do and I don’t want to let David down.”

Florence missed out on a place in the final of the canoe single (C1), but Hounslow says they will not let their individual frustrations get the better of them in the two-man event.

He said: “As an athlete, people say ‘unlucky’ to you, but I didn’t paddle well enough or put down a result.

“We’re both professionals and know what we need to do, we just haven’t done it the last couple of days.

“But we won’t let these results effect how we attack the race tomorrow.”

Men’s kayak single (K1) semi-final: P Kauzer (Slo) 94.02; M Polaczyk (Pol) 96.36; D Molmenti (Ita) 96.37; S Hernanz (Spa) 97.18; H Aigner (Ger) 97.60; B Boukpeti (Tog) 98.13; H Oblinger (Aut) 98.99; V Hradilek (Cze) 99.58; K Yazawa (Jap) 99.99; E Daille (Fra) 100.55. Did not qualify: M Doby (Bel) 102.58; R Hounslow (GBR) 104.30; M Kurt (Sui) 147.35; E Rheinisch (Ire) 153.98; M Dawson (NZ) 207.63.

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