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Nigerian canoeist making up for lost time and delayed kayak in Rio By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
Von unserem dpa-Korrespondenten und Europe Online   auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - As philosophical questions go, great minds could spend a lot of time debating whether you are still an Olympic canoeist if you don‘t have a canoe.

Thankfully for Nigeria‘s slalom canoeist Johnathan Akinyemi, he no longer has to ponder his existence after his kayak - and his father/coach - joined him in Rio de Janeiro after being stranded in Frankfurt airport.

"I felt a little bit guilty about abandoning my dad," Akinyemi said after training Tuesday. "But I have to say I missed the kayak more."

A delayed flight from Akinyemi‘s home airport of Manchester resulted in a missed connection and, with Rio currently a popular destination for the obvious reason, all later flights were fully booked.

"We were going a little bit mad living in the terminal," Akinyemi said. "We were literally just sat at the ticket desk for what felt like weeks."

Akinyemi was born in Warrington, England, and qualifies for Nigeria through his father John, who also acts as his coach. He was eventually rerouted via Rome and his father, and kayak, joined him later.

"It was a major concern for Johnathan because you have a preparation plan and in the end he lost two, three days of training," John said.

John is not the most obvious canoe coach in the world but, in a financially challenging sport, is prepared to step in.

"I don‘t like water, I can‘t canoe and I can hardly swim," he said. "So it‘s not my natural sport, but it‘s what Johnathan got involved in as a youngster and I‘ve helped him along the way. We really can‘t afford a coach so I stand in."

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