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Hoff sends message with fastest time of year

Germany's Max Hoff (L) and Denmak's Rene Poulsen
Germany's Max Hoff (L) and Denmak's Rene Holten Poulsen. Rene Volfik/EPA/archive
London 2012 bronze medallist strong in semi-final, Azerbaijanis progress

Germany's Max Hoff sent a powerful message to men's Kayak Single (K1) 1,000m favourite Rene Holten Poulsen of Denmark when he clocked the fastest time of the year in his semi-final in Mingachevir on Sunday afternoon.

Hoff powered home in 3:21.89 to win the first heat before Denmark's Baku 2015 Athlete Ambassador Poulsen followed him into the final by winning the second heat - in a time nearly two seconds slower than the German.

"He beat me by 1.9 seconds, but I stopped towards the end and I don't think he did," said Poulsen. "Knowing him, he usually goes on to the finish. Tomorrow I can just go all out, but I highly doubt that I will be leading the race because Max Hoff is very good. Most of the time it's between him and me."

The Azerbaijan team produced mixed results on the first day of the Canoe Sprint competition, but the pre-competition pledge by team leader Rovshan Karimov to "grab every medal" available was in part upheld by Sergiy Bezugliy and Oleksiy Kupin in the men's Canoe Double (C2) 1,000m.

The Ukrainian-born pair advanced to Monday morning's final in second place in their semi-final.

"Today was the start for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a final. It is evident that tomorrow we are going work harder. We are ready to win," said Kupin.

The unluckiest losers of the afternoon session were Great Britain's Lani Belcher and Angela Hannah, who missed out on qualification for the women's kayak double (K2) 500m final by less than two hundredths of a second.


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