Martin Marinov looks set to join elite company and make a seventh Olympic Games appearance after winning the C1 1000 men’s race-off at the National Canoe Sprint Championships in Perth today.
Paddling into a head-wind, Marinov was simply a class above his opponent, producing a time of 4:43.99 to finish 9.54 seconds ahead of South Australian Charlie Ellis.
Despite it being a sizeable margin, Marinov said Ellis pushed him the entire race.
“They were tough conditions and in face the weather was in my favour because I have got more experience and I knew how handle the conditions with the waves and wind, especially in the first 200 metres,” Marinov said.
“But the young fella is going really well, what is he, 18 or 19 years old and he has got potential if he keeps going the same way.”
“He gave me a hard time to be honest as I had pressure to the last moment as I didn’t know his potential and I had to push myself to the end.”
Remarkably, Marinov only considered a comeback to racing a month and a half ago after his old C2 partner Ferenc Szekszardi gave him a call asking if he wanted to do C2.
The move has paid dividends though with two National titles in Perth this week.
“I didn’t expect too much to be honest with less than two months of training but so far I have got two events out of three and now it is the selectors decision to decide who will go to the Olympics, if I do not go as an athlete I will go as the Chinese Coach anyway,” Marinov said.
The two-time Olympic bronze medallist admitted it would be a special achievement to feature at a seventh Olympics.
“That is one of the reasons I wanted to do it, just to have a fifth Olympics as an athlete which is not very often in our sport and at the age of 49 I reckon that will be close to a canoeing record,” Marinov said.
Should he make the team he plans on wearing the green and gold.
“I will wear Australian but I still have a commitment to coach this guy (Qiang Li) to the Olympics and I believe that he can win the gold medal and that is my priority as coach,” Marinov said.