Spain qualified eight male canoeists for the Tokyo Games, but the organization admits only six. The places are for the country, they are not nominal. The pass was obtained for the K2-1000, the K1-1000, the K1-200 and the K4-500. The very high level of Spanish canoeing (the sport that garnered the most gold in Rio2016 with Craviotto-Toro in the K2-200, Marcus Cooper in the K1-1000 and Maialen Chourraut in whitewater) has forced the federation to mount an internal process to discarding two paddlers out of six for the K4-500 and K1-200 events.
That means leaving out Olympic and world medalists : two between Saúl Craviotto, Marcus Cooper, Cristian Toro, Carlos Arévalo, Rodrigo Germade and Carlos Garrote. The process, very long and with extremely tense meetings, began after the world silver in Szeged 2019, stopped due to the pandemic in March of last year and resumed last Thursday in Trasona, Asturias, where the K4-500 team, Directed by Miguel García, it has its headquarters. The tests, which should have finished this Thursday, were suspended this Tuesday because one of the paddlers confessed to the technicians that he was not in a position to perform. He is not the only one in the group who has not slept in recent nights. The accusations, the leaks and the hints of a fix by Carlos Garrote and the former federative president Juan Román Mangas, have made a dent and have turned the selective into a powder keg. Late in the afternoon on Tuesday, the Federation announced that the tests will resume this Wednesday and end on Friday
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On Monday morning – the day of rest between the first and second batch of print runs – Garrote sent this message to journalists: “The internal selection process was intervened yesterday [for Sunday] by the technician responsible for the project when detecting possible irregularities. The coach made this decision yesterday afternoon after having suspicions of time manipulation by some athletes. I believe that this should be known due to the seriousness of the matter ”. Faced with some data [on the times] that did not provide more than doubts, what the coach did was to summon the athletes to find out what had happened in the tests, if the cold had influenced, the hardness of the water and the track, the muscle activation, etc etc. An ordinary meeting that is usually held to analyze the circumstances of the race, turned into a game of leaks and accusations of manipulation before it even started
Specialist in 200 (he was bronze in the 2019 World Cup and double champion world and European in 2018 ), Garrote was fourth and third, respectively, in the internal tests of the K1-200 – two runs – that were disputed on Thursday of last week. He therefore lost the option to qualify in the K1-200 for Tokyo. That place was won by Carlos Arévalo. For Garrote (as for Toro and the rest of his colleagues), the only option to go to the Games was therefore with the K4-500.
The process envisaged a daily run of three different combinations and the winning boat in both tests she would be the one chosen to continue working for the Games. The runs were fixed every day at the same time (9 a.m.) so that everyone had the same conditions: in the event that the weather was not favorable, it would be postponed to ensure that everyone competed with the same weather conditions. Garrote participated on Friday in the first of six scheduled runs in a K4-500 formed together with Craviotto-Arévalo y Toro. They marked a time of: 1m 24s 067. "We all leave satisfied that we have not left even a shred of reserve strength," Garrote declared that day. On the other hand, he complained that the last year had been "very hard" for him. “Due to the change of coach and training sessions, quite different from the last 3 years. The adaptation has been hard, without feeling quite well. I gave everything I had, it is true that you compete as you train, "he said while ensuring that the selection process would be" fair and legal. "
24 hours later, on Saturday, it was the turn of the K4-500 from Craviotto-Cooper-Arévalo-Toro that finished with a time of 1m 24s 664. On Sunday it was the turn of the vessel composed of Craviotto-Cooper-Arévalo-Germade —the who was world runner-up at Szeged 2019 and who has been working together for the longest time— and stopped the clock at 1m 20s 842. Garrote considers that this difference of 3.8 seconds is the result of a deception. He believes the paddlers rowed slower on Friday with him on board to penalize him. And so he also tried to make Toro believe that this Tuesday he had to get on the boat with Craviotto-Cooper and Arevalo for the second run. "If you go out tomorrow [for today Tuesday] you accept defeat, if you don't go out, it is proven that we have been robbed," according to a witness. For his part, former President Mangas said on Castilla y León TV that there had been no fair play and also spoke of match.
Miguel García, the technician responsible for the preparation of four of the medal-winning boats in Rio 2016, London 2012 and Beijing 2008, explained this morning why the selection process in which he has been working for more than two years has stopped. "The test scheduled for this Tuesday has not been contested because the athletes, after all this tidal wave, are not in a position to contribute 100% in each test, so that the information that we were going to obtain is of no use to us." Regarding that difference of 3.8 seconds, timed by the way by an official of the Federation, he says that it does not respond to a single reason. “There are variables such as the fact that the second day was colder, that the start is done manually with a pontonero and not automated, and the athletes' own activation. What we have to do now is train and we are going to close the process in the best possible way from common sense and work, with which we will reach a point of consensus in which we can finish the selection with clarity. ”PP Source: The country