Ireland gains 50th Olympian for London 201217/05/2012 - 17:27:38
A former Polish world champion canoeist has become the 50th athlete to qualify to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games in London.
Andrzej Jezierski, who twice claimed gold medals at canoe sprint world championships for his native Poland, will fly the Irish flag in London after making it through poor weather conditions in the final Olympic qualifier in Poznan.
Jezierski will compete in the C1 200m canoeing at Eton Dorney after finishing second in this afternoon’s final in Poznan, where only two places were on offer for London 2012.
The Cork-based canoeist was beaten to the line by Slovakia’s Lubomir Hagara, who won in a time of 42.518 seconds – just over half a second clear of the newly-declared Irishman.
But Jezierski managed to pull 0.4 seconds clear of Czech Martin Fuksa to book his Olympic spot.
Now a member of Lee Valley Rowing Club and living in Ballincollig with his family, Jezierski won five medals for Poland at previous runnings of the Canoe Spring World Championships, with world titles coming in Seville in 2002 and Zagreb three years later, both as part of the Polish C4 boat over 1000m.
He also claimed an individual silver in the C1 in Seville, with two other bronze medals claimed at other world championships.
The former world champ was recently granted an Irish passport, piquing an interest In representing his adopted nation at an Olympic Games.
Competing in the canoe sprint over a course akin to a flat rowing race, Jezierski will be the third canoeist to compete in London, alongside Eoin Rheinisch and Hannah Craig, who will both compete in canoe slalom on the classic white water course at Lee Valley.
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