Three from three
By STEVE SPINKS
NATHAN Baggaley confirmed his place among the elite of the kayaking world when he won his third straight K1 500m world championship in Croatia overnight.
The Byron Bay paddler defeated Germany's Lutz Altepost and Canada's Adam Van Koeverden by just under a second to claim the three-peat at the 34th International Canoe Federation World Championships.
With the win, Baggaley became only the fourth kayaker in history to win three K1 500m world championships, along with Romanian Vasile Diba (1974, 1977 and 1978), Soviet Vladimir Parfenovich (1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983) and Hungarian Akos Vereckei (1998, 1999 and 2001).
He is only the third paddler to win three consecutive titles.
Baggaley also claimed a bronze medal in the K1 1000m on Saturday behind Olympic champion Eirik Veraas Larsen and Van Koeverden.
Remarkably, his first and third placings mirrored his results from the previous world championships in 2003.
The victory was sweet revenge for Baggaley.
The Australian had been favoured for victory in the K1 500m at the Athens Olympics last year.
But Van Koeverden stole the march on Baggaley and claimed the gold medal for Canada.
The Gold Coast-based paddler finished second.
Although happy enough with an Olympic silver medal, Baggaley was disappointed to be pipped out of the top spot in his pet event.