The line up was epic: three world champions lined up to race together: Max Hoff 2013, Josef Dostal 2014 and Rene Holten Polsen 2015. But it was time for a changing of the guard with 21-year-old Spanish Marcus Walz blitzing the pack to surpass everyone with a Gold Medal on his Olympic debut.
Walz used a very tactical approach, paddling conservatively for the first half, then picking up in the third quarter and finally, gritting his teeth and putting his foot down in the last 100m, reaching speeds of up to almost 5 m/s. Extraordinarily, the Gold is his first placing in the K1M 1000m division racing.
K1M 100m A Final finish line shot thanks to Rio Olympics
On a day that could not have been more perfect, and with a line up exclusively of Nelo Boats, the racing was always going to be fast.
Walz made a good start, just behind Pimenta (Portugal) who swiftly opened up a lead of over a boat length at the 250m mark.
Australian Murray Stewart, the fast qualifier, looked especially strong at the 500m mark, pulling himself up to 2nd place behind Pimenta, with Czech Josef Dostal and Russian Roman Anoshkin behind. Meanwhile Walz was holding back, anonymous in the middle of the pack.
Pimenta was following his effective semifinal strategy of leading from the start – but it wasn't to be successful.
The final 250m saw a rollercoaster of emotion with several paddlers fighting tooth and nail, taking turns to lead, unaware of the growing threat behind them as Walz hit his turbo button.
With Australian now in the lead, the Russian powered up to move up quickly through the centre at the 20m mark. Dostal also put this foot down but he couldn't dig deep enough. Walz was flying now, finding strength where others were found wanting.
Walz won by half a length (3:31.447sec), followed by Czech Dostal (3:32.145) and Russian Anoshkin (3:33.363) third. Australian was fractionally behind in 3:33.741 (a good result for Stewart having fought glandual fever over the last year).
Walz found success by following a classic 1000m strategy – strong start settling into a good paddling rhythm as speed, holding the speed through the middle of the race and just absolutely going for it in the last 100m. Hoff and Holten Polsen nowhere to be seen.
1 ESP WALZ Marcus 3:31.447
2 CZE DOSTAL Josef 3:32.145
3 RUS ANOSHKIN Roman 3:33.363
4 AUS STEWART Murray 3:33.741
5 POR PIMENTA Fernando 3:35.349
6 DEN HOLTEN Rene 3:36.840
7 GER HOFF Max 3:37.581
8 SVK GELLE Peter 3:40.691
Incredible racing. Looking forward to some more epic battles when racing begins again at Midnight tonight NZT.
Scott Martlew has competed his Rio Paralympic Dream with an eighth place finish in the A Final.