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Canada's Mark Oldershaw earns Olympic berth with canoe gold medal

Canada's Mark Oldershaw celebrates after winning his heat in the C1 500m semi-final at the 2009 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships on Lake Banook in Dartmouth, N.S. on Friday August 14, 2009.

Adrian Wyld/CP/Adrian Wyld/CP

Canada's Mark Oldershaw booked his ticket to the London Games after winning gold at a World Cup canoe and kayak competition Saturday.

Oldershaw, from Burlington, Ont., finished first in the men's C-1 1,000 metre in four minutes 08.873 seconds.

Sebastian Brendel of Germany was second in 4:10.057 and Ben Russell of Dartmouth, N.S., followed in third in 4:10.685.

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Elsewhere, Adam Van Koeverden of Oakville, Ont., won bronze in the men's K-1 1,000.

Oldershaw was the winner at the Olympic trials two weeks ago and Russell needed to finish ahead of him twice to knock him off the Olympic nomination list.

"This feels incredible," said Oldershaw, an Olympic team member in 2008. "The last few months has been such a build up and to get it done on the day feels so good.

"The headwind was strong and I tried to not let it get to me. I knew I was as good as all these guys and once I reached the 500 I made sure they weren't going to get to me."

For Russell, it was his last chance to challenge for an Olympic spot.

"I've taken a big step over the past year to put myself in that field," said Russell. "But it's still a bittersweet feeling to know I'm not going to the Games. It's tough, but I'll be sticking around four more years."

In a close men's K-1 1,000, Rene Poulsen of Denmark was the victor in 3:42.545, followed by Eirik Larsen of Norway second in 3:42.677 while Van Koeverden, the reigning world champion, took third spot in 3:42.881.

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"It was good overall but sometimes early in the season I forget the pace a little bit," said Van Koeverden, a three-time Olympic medallist. "I knew Rene was going to be fast in the end so I just tried to stay relaxed and save some energy. I know my last 300 metres will be much, much better come August."

Other Canadian finalists were Paul Bryant and Roland Varga of Richmond Hill, Ont., sixth in the C-2 1,000 and Emilie Fournel of Lachine, Que., seventh in the women's K-1 500.

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