Singapore kayaker Stephenie Chen punches ticket to Paris Olympics

SINGAPORE: Kayaker Stephenie Chen narrowly missed out on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics three years ago but the Singaporean was not to be denied on Saturday (Apr 20). 

The 32-year-old punched her ticket for the Paris Olympics after finishing third in the women’s K1 500m final at the ACC Canoe Sprint & Paracanoe Asian Championships, which doubles up as the Asian qualifier for this year’s Games. 

The five-time SEA Games champion carried over momentum from her silver medal performance at the Hangzhou Asian Games last October to Tokyo, Japan.

Chen came home in a time of 2min 6.129sec at Sea Forest Waterway, behind Chinese winner Zhang Luxi (2:02.328) and second-placed Ekaterina Shubina of Ukraine (2:04.043). 

According to the Olympics website, the top two boats in the women’s K1 event in Tokyo will secure a quota place for Paris.

A quota place guarantees that an athlete from Singapore will be competing in the event at the Olympics. With China having already secured five canoe sprint berths, as of November 2023, that enabled Chen to clinch qualification for her maiden Games. 

The Singapore Canoe Federation congratulated Chen on her latest achievement, saying on its Instagram account “Paris 2024, here she comes!”

She was part of a Team Singapore quartet vying to seal their spots in the Paris Games at the Asian Canoe sprint Olympic qualifiers in Tokyo. 

Ten other Singapore athletes have already qualified for the Paris Olympics, including reigning Asian Games 200m champion Shanti Pereira, fencer Amita Berthier, kitefoiler Max Maeder and the women’s 4x100m medley swim team comprising Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen, Letitia Sim and Levinia Sim. 

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