Romanian canoeists Catalin Chirila and Victor Mihalachi on Tuesday advanced to the final of the men's canoe doubles 1,000m event at the Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing second in the first semi-final at the Sea Forest Waterway.The Romanian crew, which started on the second lane, was at the forefront of the race from the beginning, getting third at 250 and 500 m, and then Chirila and Mihalachi constantly increased their stroke and took the lead at 750 m, which they lost on the last metres, when China overtook them with a stronger finish and set a new Olympic record. The Romanians showed a completely different performance in the semi-finals then their two races on Monday, in the heats and quarter-finals.
In the first semi-final, China ended first, clocking in at 3:27.023, followed by Romania +0.376, Poland +1.259, Spain +1.571, and Ukraine +1.752. China, Romania, Poland and Spain progressed to final A, while Ukraine will compete in final B.
In the second semi-final, Germany took first place, setting a new Olympic record (3:26.812), followed by Cuba +0.290, Canada +0.333, Brazil +0.355, and the Czech Republic +2.115. The former Olympic record, set by China in the first semi-final at 3:27.023 lasted only a few minutes. Before the semi-finals, the Olympic record was set by Germany at 3:31.870.
Competing in final A will be China, Romania, Poland, Spain, Germany, Cuba, Canada and Brazil. Romania will start on lane three in Tuesday's final.
Chirila and Mihalachi are the bronze medallists at this year's European Championships in Poznan, but Mihalachi, 32, is also a two-time world champion - in 2010 and 2014
In the kayak and canoe events, Romania has a 34 Olympic medal tally, of which 10 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze. The last gold was won at C2-1,000 m by Florin Popescu, the current coach of the Olympic canoe team, and Mitica Pricop, bronze medallist in the 500 m event. The last time Romanian kayakers and canoeists made it to the Olympic medal podium was 21 years ago.