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Hartley takes silver in France

Sprint queen Bridgitte Hartley got South Africa’s international season off to a silver-lined start as she powered through to second place in the women’s K1 1000m A-Final at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Cup in Vichy, France.

The silver medal was the highlight of a busy weekend of three A-Finals for Hartley, as she also raced to fifth place in the Olympic-distance 500m K1 on Saturday afternoon, and seventh in the K1 200m on Sunday. ÔÇ£I had a great overall weekend at a very competitive first World Cup,ÔÇØ said the tired star at the close of the regatta.

The ace K2 combination of Shaun Rubenstein and Mike Arthur, now based in Cape Town for their 2012 Olympic preparations, were also happy with their first international outing of the year, narrowly missing a medal in the hotly contested 200m final.

On a busy Sunday for the pair, they won both their heat and semi-final in the new Olympic distance 200m in the morning, and having also qualified for the K2 500m A-Final, had to compete in two taxing finals just over an hour apart on Sunday afternoon. With their focus on the 200m distance, they had to be content with an eighth place in the earlier 500m Final.

ÔÇ£To be so close to all three boats in the 200m K2 is very encouraging, even though it is disappointing to miss a medal by 0.016 of a second,ÔÇØ said Rubenstein afterwards.

Elsewhere Nick Stubbs finished second in the K1 500m B-Final and brothers Ryan and Greg Louw’s fifth in their 200m K2 semi-final saw them qualify for the B-final.