The canoe sprint competition at the Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023 in the Dominican Republic has been a triumph for Cuba and Mexico, with the two countries scooping the majority of the medals on offer, and for the host nation, winning its first gold.
The canoe sprint racing was considered a great success, showcasing the strong growth of the sport in the region. Cuba won four gold and Mexico took home three titles over the three days of competition. There were also gold for Colombia and Dominican Republic.
Jose Pelier won two gold medals, triumphing in the men’s C1 1000 and pairing with Tabiany Dieguez to win the men’s C2 500. Daylen Rodriguez and Yurieni Guerra won the women’s K2 500, and Robert Benitez and Yan Same completed the medal haul for Cuba by winning the men’s K2 500.
Mexico’s Beatriz Briones was the first across the line in the women’s K1 500, five years after winning her first medal in this competition.
"I'm very happy, very excited, my first participation was in 2018 where I won the silver medal,” she said.
“So this gold medal means a lot to me because it shows my advancement, my progress, my sports career. It was my only event here at the CAC Games, I am satisfied and even more motivated for other competitions to come.”
Teammate Brenda Gutierrez was quickest in the women’s K1 200.
“I'm very happy, the 200m competition enchants me, I'm passionate about the category, it's a race of centesimal points to define the placement, and it's this adrenaline that makes me more and more passionate,” Gutierrez said.
“This first place means a lot to me, because it is my first gold medal in the Central American Games.”
Jose Eguia made it a treble for Mexico by winning the men’s K1 200.
"All the work we did was applied here in this competition, it is the result of dedication, heavy training, to win this gold,” Eguia said.
“I dedicate this medal to each person who is on my side, who supported me. Now I will keep training to reach the podium in the Pan American Games, and dream of winning an Olympic medal."
The men’s K1 1000 was won by Colombia’s Leocadio Pinto.
"It's a very big effort between coach and federation to get this result,” Pinto said.
“I don't even have words to express how happy I am, I dedicate this medal today to my coach, for being part of this achievement.”
The Dominican Republic made history by winning the men’s K4 500, the first gold for the country in canoe sprint at a CAC Games.
"For us, it is a huge pride, for the first time in the history of canoeing our country, Dominican Republic, has achieved such a relevant result,” the team said.
“We are growing, moving forward, and we will continue representing our country very well in competitions. We cannot thank you enough for receiving this gold at home, here close to our families, celebrating, vibrating together, this achievement of all of us."
ICF vice-president Cecilia Farias said the event had been an enormous success.
"After 20 years, we are here again in the Dominican Republic holding the American Games, the structures are magnificent, from parking, hosting, organisation, everything is perfect and everyone is to be congratulated,” Dr Farias said.
“The CAC Games represent the strength of the International Canoeing Federation, and we intend to work with more countries starting in September, increasing even more the female participation.”
-from international canoe federation