Rio Olympics: Kingsley’s Ferenc Szekszardi in 200m canoe sprint


Ferenc Szekszardi in the 200m canoe sprint. Picture: Getty Images
Ferenc Szekszardi in the 200m canoe sprint. Picture: Getty Images

SOME might know him as a Hungarian-born flooring business owner from Kingsley.

But tonight Ferenc Szekszardi became an Olympic canoe sprinter.

And the competition from the powerhouse European nations proved a great challenge for the 36-year-old in heat four of the 200m canoe single event at Lagoa Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Szekszardi was beaten off the line, but made a marginal comeback in the early stages of the race before dropping to the rear of the field.

The competitor, who moved to Australia when he was 24, was the slowest in his six-man field coming in at 44.29secs compared with heat winner Valentin Demyanenko’s 39.74secs.

The Ukraine’s Demyanenko is a former world champion in the event, while Szekszardi ranked fourth in the Australian championships earlier this year.

Szekszardi ranked 23rd from 25 racers overall.

He will be expected to fare better with canoe partner Martin Marinov, a five-time Olympian, in the 1000m canoe double on Friday.

Marinov won bronze medals in canoeing at the Seoul and Barcelona Olympics while representing his native country Bulgaria.

Quirkily, he’s also a former Mr Bulgaria.

The pair is the current Australian champion in the event.