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A late entry at Rio, kayaker Cochrane goes for Olympic medal on Thursday

Way better late than never. Windsor native Ryan Cochrane, a late addition to Canada's team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will race for a medal on Thursday.
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ryan cochrane
Ryan Cochrane, front, and Hugues Fournel will compete in the K-2 200 metres final at the Rio Olympics on Friday. (BALINT VEKASSY / Canoe Kayak Canada)

Way better late than never.

Windsor native Ryan Cochrane, a late addition to Canada's team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, will race for a medal on Thursday.

The 33-year-old Cochrane, a father of two now living and training in Quebec City, and partner Hugues Fournel placed third in their K-2 200 semifinal on Tuesday. It was the last qualifying spot available for the medal race.

"It was a great race," Cochrane said in an e-mail. "We dug deep.

"I can't help but think my grandmother, who passed away on July 11, was watching over me and cheering me on. It was a special one, that's for sure.
Now, with great pleasure, I get to go on to the A final tomorrow and represent my team and my country, which could not make me more proud."

Cochrane and Fournel, also finalists at the 2012 Olympic in London, didn't qualify directly for the Rio Games. They were only notified a few weeks ago they had been selected after a Russian crew was disqualified over doping.

Sweden was next in line for the vacancy left by the Russians, but the Swedes declined after one of its crew members retired. That left Canada to select a crew and Cochrane and Fournel, who were not partners this season after placing ninth at the worlds last year, got the surprise call.

The Canadians posted a 33.49 in the semifinal. Hungary won in 32.13 with France right behind in 32.52.

Serbia, Great Britain, Lithuania, Spain and Germany have the other berths in the final.

Canada was fourth in its heat race, and eight overall in the preliminaries, in 32.74.

The final is Thursday at 9:47 a.m.

Halifax's Mark de Jonge, a two-time world champion in the K-1 200, will be the last Nova Scotia paddler to see his first action in Rio. He starts Friday.

Lake Echo's Genny Orton, 13th in the women's K-2 500 earlier this week, will race the K-4 500 also starting Friday.

 



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