Olimpiada Rio 2016

Meet Brazilian Isaquias Queiroz, the Canoeist Who Is Set to Make History

It was a rocky ride for Brazilian canoeist and medal favourite Isaquias Queiroz. The 22-year old from Bahia, in the North East of Brazil, started off looking good, but a fatal error he committed early on in the race forced him to make a series of tactical changes.

At the end, he had to push himself to earn his place among the top three.

A rush of water threw him from his canoe and he fell into Rodrigo de Freitas lake, where the canoeing competitions of Rio 2016's Olympic Games have been taking place.
Like all good mothers, Dilma Queiroz was worried.

"I thought he was going to die. I got down on my knees and prayed. I am very Christian. I prayed for him and for the medal when he fell at the end. I did not see the medal."

But her distress was soon replaced with profound joy, when she saw that he had finished the C1 200m race this Thursday (18), in excellent time. Isaquias, for the second time in these games, was crowned victorious.

He was responsible for national canoeing's second Olympic high in two days. The youngster came third overall in the competition and won a bronze medal.

On Tuesday (16) Isaquias won silver in the C1 1,000m race, the hardest of all the Olympic canoeing disciplines. Again, it was not a done deal. Throughout the course of the race he made a few vital errors and it looked as if his chances of a podium spot were slipping away.

"The boat was rocking loads. When I slipped up I thought, "Well, that's it, now I've lost my medal." It made for a dramatic Olympic moment. Isaquias crossed the finish line milliseconds ahead of the Spaniard Alfonso Benavides (39s628 ahead of 39s649).

The proud owner of two medals from Rio, the canoeist has made it into an elite club athletes who have won multiple medals in one Olympics championship.

The only other people to have achieved this feat in history are shooting competitors Guilherme Paraense and Afranio da Costa (Antwerp-1920) and swimmers Gustavo Borges (Atlanta 1996) and Cesar Cielo (Beijing-2008).

Although he is delighted with his performance, the Brazilian has no plans to quit while he's ahead. This Friday (18) his plans for an Olympic hat trick went underway.

He is hoping for a third medal in the race that which has always been his favourite, the C2 1,000m. In this team race he will pair up with Erlon Souza. Both of the athletes were world champions in distance racing in 2015.

And, if all goes to plan, Isaquias will be the first Brazilian ever to win three Olympic medals at one single games. He is already a national treasure, but worldwide recently he has also met with success: securing medals in six global competitions in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Last year, he won two golds and a silver at Pan in Toronto.


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