'What a final': Aussies win kayak gold in 85-year first at Olympics

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Jean van der Westhuyzen and Thomas Green (pictured right) won the men's K2 1000m (pictured left) in a thrilling race in Tokyo.
Jean van der Westhuyzen and Thomas Green won the men's K2 1000m at the Olympics. (Images: @Channel 7)

Australian kayak pair Tom Green and Jean van der Westhuyzen have surprised with a thrilling finish to win gold and make it sweet 16 for the nation at the Olympics.

The 22-year-olds had never competed internationally together before but they followed up their Olympic record in the heats by winning the final from German world champions Max Hoff and Jacob Schopf in Tokyo on Thursday.

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Green and van der Westhuyzen started the K2 1000m race on fire as they took a boat-length lead at the halfway mark.

However, Germany battled back and took over the lead with just 200m left.

But in a performance labelled as 'gutsy', Green and van der Westhuyzen edged in front of Germany to claim gold.

It marks Australia's first gold in the 85-year history of the event, topping the Rio bronze won by triple medallist Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame.

Fans went wild over a thrilling race as the Australians crossed in three minutes 15.280 seconds, just 0.304 clear of Germany.

It's Australia's first gold in the event, topping the Rio bronze won by triple medallist Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame.

Only recently emerged from junior ranks and with international racing curtailed for the past two years by COVID-19, they said after that race they weren't sure how they would stack up.

The pair are based in Queensland, with Cape Town-born van der Westhuyzen moving from South Africa to Australia in 2018 to pursue his sprint canoe career.

Amazing day for Australia at the Olympics

Thursday was an incredible day for the Aussies in Tokyo.

Only minutes after Green and van der Westhuyzen's gutsy gold, skateboarder Keegan Palmer grabbed gold in the park event after a remarkable first run.

Earlier, Mariafe Artacho Del Solar and Taliqua Clancy advanced to the beach volleyball gold medal match, securing Australia's second medal in the event in Olympics history.

Australia has only ever medalled once in the sport - Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst's epic gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

But Artacho Del Solar and Clancy have now broken that drought and have guaranteed themselves at least a silver medal.

The Aussies stunned the world in the quarter-finals when they upset the Canadian World No.1 pairing.

And they backed it up on Thursday, beating Latvians Tina Graudina and Anastasija Kravcenoka 23-21, 21-13.

with AAP

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