They might not have won in front of their home country in World Cup soccer, but they did so in fine fashion in rafting, making amends on the water if not the field.
Showing why they’re one of the best rafting teams in the world, Brazil bested teams from 19 other countries after two weeks of competition to win the overall category of the 2014 R4 Championships, despite close competition from such countries as Russia and the Czech Republic.
“It was great to win at home, and extremely timely because it gives more strength to our sport,” says Rebecca Fernandes of the Brazilian Canoe Confederation, crediting the hosting body’s victory to the country’s dedication to rafting.
The Downriver was held just below Iguaçu Falls, providing an unforgettable setting. Slovakia, Russia and Brazil all fared well. In the Open Women, Slovakia completed the race with a time of 20:52.08, ahead of the Japanese at 21:01:44 and the Brazilians at 21:43.69. In the Open Men gold was won by the Russian team with 19:40.21, silver by Brazil with 19:47.72 and the bronze by Japan with 20:08:34. The Men’s Masters category saw Brazil take victory with a time of 21:10:17, followed by the Czech Republic at 21:29.00 and Russia at 22: 21.89.
The teams were up before sunrise to then compete in the second run of the Slalom race on the Itaipu Canal. The only thing taking their minds off the gates was the region’s beauty. “The falls are beautiful, there’s no better,” says Kailie Marland of the Canadian Open Female’s Team. “The waves are pretty big down river and to face them was a challenge.”
The victory in the Men’s Open went to Czech Republic with a time of 2:33.87, followed by Brazil at 2:35.71 and a young Costa Rican team taking the bronze with a time of 2:40.55. In the Open Women’s category it was again Brazil’s turn to shine, taking the gold with a time of 3:04.87, ahead of Japan at 3:5:17 and the Czech Republic at 3:11:18.
In the Masters Men’s it was another victory for the Czechs with the time of 2:48.94, over the Brazilian’s 3:02:06 and the Russians in third with 4:23.67.
But the finishes were were enough to give Brazil top overall honors.
After the points for all four disciplines – Sprint, H2H, Slalom and Downriver – were totaled, in the Open Men’s category Brazil secured the world champion crown with 888 points, followed by the Czech Republic and Russia with 834 and 830, respectively.
In Men’s Masters the Brazilians also won with 952 points, followed by the Czechs and Russians, with 928 and 790, respectively. The Women’s Open also saw Brazil in first with 904 points, followed by Japan with 871 and 847 for Slovakia.
“We had a great event in the country thanks to our great partners who believe in the development of the Brazilian rafting,” says Brazilian Canoe Confederation president Joao Tomasini Schwertner. “I’d like to congratulate the Brazilian teams that showed the strength of the country on the world stage, as well as all the foreign teams who came to Brazil, the organizing team and volunteers who came to participate in this great event.”