“For better or for worse the process was as it was and now we have to think about the Games. We can not lose more time; the rivals have not lost it… they did not go through this process ”, says Miguel García, coach of the canoeing team. He has just got off the boat in the Trasona reservoir (Asturias), the headquarters of his group, after finishing training this Tuesday. This Tuesday the Federation has made official, after two convulsive weeks with complaints of tampering, lawsuits and leaks of private audios, the K4-500 that will compete in the Games and that will fight for the gold against the favorite Germany.
The boat will be composed of Saúl Craviotto, Carlos Arévalo, Marcus Cooper and Rodrigo Germade. Arévalo will also double and compete in the K1-200 after winning the individual tests of the selective at the beginning of March. “This crew has proven to offer greater guarantees of success for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” the Federation reported. All four got silver at the 2019 Szeged World Cup, the last to be played. This Wednesday morning an analysis will be done to evaluate what they have lost in these last two weeks. “The analytics was not planned, but you have to do it now and think about the future. Mental stress makes you lose weight, sleep worse and rest worse, thus the recovery processes are lengthened. When we could have started working in a timely manner, everything was delayed for a week, ”explains García. The coach has been working with Saúl Craviotto since he was a junior and, under his guidance, he won gold in K2-500 in Beijing 2008, silver in K1-200 in London 2012 and gold in K2-200 with Cristian Toro and bronze in K1-200 at the Rio Games.
The selectives should have finished on the 11th. And on the 12th, the preparation for the Games should have begun. The process exploded like a tinderbox and almost two weeks have been lost. “We are going back to aerobic work, resetting, and starting over remembering the aerobic rhythms. The season is being very demanding due to the peaks in form and we don’t want them to take their toll on us at the end ”, he says. That final It is the first week of August, when they will compete in Tokyo. “There is no other option but to rebuild the base,” adds García.
When he speaks of peaks in form, he refers to the one reached at the beginning of March to compete in the internal selective. “I am regulating the rhythms and the loads, but the athlete’s stress is that he is going to play it in the month of March … It is not the same to shovel with the K1 than to do it with the K4 because there he goes through shovel water it is much more demanding. It goes faster and that, inadvertently, speeds up the formal processes ”, he analyzes. The next peak of form will have to be reached in August.
The K4-500 chosen for the Olympic event is the only one that carried out all the planned runs in the internal selective that exploded like a powder keg after four days of testing. Two runs were scheduled for each combination (the other two were made up of Craviotto-Garrote-Arévalo-Toro and Craviotto-Cooper-Arévalo-Toro). The latter could not be repeated because Carlos Garrote, who reported that his teammates (he himself chose them) were slower with him on the boat to harm him and leave him out of the Games, presented a medical leave after suffering a nervous picture. He was third and fourth, respectively, in the K1-200 tests, so his only option to compete in the Games, like that of the rest of his teammates, was to set the best time in the K4-500. The best time was signed by Craviotto-Arévalo-Cooper-Germade. They won 3.8 seconds ahead. Cristian Toro also presented a medical leave: he said that after talking with his psychologist they realized that he was not in a position to perform and therefore to dispute the second test.
“If you go out tomorrow [día de la segunda tirada], you accept defeat, if you don’t go out, it is proven that they have robbed us, ”Garrote told Toro in one of the rooms of the Trasona technology center, according to a witness. The former federative president, Juan Román Mangas, seconded him, speaking in turn of a process that is not very clean and rigged. Garrote secretly recorded private telephone conversations between the coach and Craviotto and the coach’s talks with the entire team. Those conversations leaked to the media. Which led to a letter from Craviotto’s lawyers and technician García to warn Garrote that publishing those audios is a crime. They also filed a complaint in Examining Court number 2 of Avilés in which the judge prohibited the reproduction, distribution and public communication of that content to avoid “further illegitimate interference in their fundamental right to privacy.”