TOKYO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- All Chinese paddlers cruised into the semifinals as canoe sprint competition began at the Tokyo Olympic Games here on Monday.
Liu Hao, gold medalist in the 2019 world championships, partnered with Zheng Pengfei to finish their heat of the men's canoe double 1000m in the first place in 3 minutes and 37.783 seconds to book a direct berth in the semis. Cuba's Serguey Torres Madrigal and Fernando Dayan Jorge Enriquez, who took the second place 1.245 seconds behind, also advanced to the semis.
"We just followed our pace and did what we had done in our practice," Liu said.
"We have already had the best and worst situation, but we tried to not let ourselves be influenced by those factors. We haven't raced internationally for two years, so we just focus on ourselves and the race tomorrow," Zheng reacted to a strong challenge from Cuba.
Yin Mengdie made it to the semis by finishing her heat in the first place in the women's kayak single 200m, clocking 41.688 seconds.
"I didn't expect I can get a direct berth in the semis. China has never entered the finals of the event at an Olympics before. So I will give it all," she said.
Ma Qing in the women's kayak single 200m, Zhang Dong in the men's kayak single 1000m, and Li Dongyin/Zhou Yu in the women's kayak double 500m had to go through the quarterfinals to make to the semis.