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Brilliant bronze as Heath wins fourth Olympic medal

Liam Heath has won the bronze medal in the men’s K1 200m final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

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The brilliant bronze medal means the 36-year-old has now won four Olympic medals in three consecutive Games to cement his place as an Olympic legend.

It was a tightly contested final, not knowing which way the result had gone as the leading pack crossed the finish line, with Liam's time of 35.202 putting him in third place and onto the podium.

Just 0.2 seconds separated the top three with the gold medal going to Sandor Totka of Hungary.

Liam's fourth medal means he becomes Britain's most successful Olympic canoeist, after K1 200m gold and K2 200m silver in Rio and K2 200m bronze in London.

The Wey Kayak Club athlete said:

I am happy with where I've landed today. The race could have gone a little bit better for me but I am really happy with the medal round my neck.

– Liam Heath

“We are a sport that is open to the elements and you have to take advantage of the weather conditions when they present themselves.

“Crossing the line in a 200m race is always quite confusing, it’s always tight and you never really know where you’ve finished. I had a really strong middle and strong last section, so it was a frustrating first half.

“I never really know where i’ve finished to be honest. You don’t want to be screaming and celebrating prematurely. You get an idea when you get called to boat weighing or to the presentation pontoon. But it’s generally blinkers on, head down and go as hard as you can. Pushing on through and executing each section of the race.”

Elsewhere, Deborah Kerr (Strathclyde) finished seventh in her semi-final of the women’s K1 500m to round off what has been a brilliant Olympic debut for the Scottish athlete.

Deborah lined up in a stacked semi-final of top international athletes and put down a strong performance of 1:55.955. It wasn’t enough to progress to the finals of the competition, but it’s certainly a Games she can look back on with fond memories having made the A final of the 200m earlier in the week.

Speaking after her race, she said:

“I definitely went into this race treating it as my final which is why I didn’t feel so nervous. Going to the A final of the 200 felt like such a bonus earlier in the week. I was a little off the pace today, but some of the girls who made the B final would normally be in the A final so it shows how high the standard is here.

“I felt okay out there. There’s learning on how to approach this racing. Racing every day so far you start to struggle towards the end so a little bit of extra has done me the world of good, but I’m delighted with how I’ve done and I can be really happy with myself."

I will look back on this Olympics with fond memories. I wasn’t expecting to be here and I said at the start of the year Tokyo would be a bonus so to get an A final in the 200 and to be in the mix in the 500 I couldn’t ask for much more. We have had a great team around us here in Tokyo.

– Deborah Kerr

“It’s only up from here.”

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