SPORTS

Kayak ace wins in 2004 test event

France’s Fabien Lefevre won the men’s kayak yesterday at the Athens Slalom Racing World Cup, held as a test event for the Olympics in August. The defending French world champion posted a combined time of 186.97 seconds, topping Briton Campbell Walsh’s 190.06. Helmut Oblinger of Austria finished third at 191.69. It was the second gold won by the French in the five-day competition. Also yesterday, Jaroslav Volf and Ondrej Stepanek of the Czech Republic won the men’s tandem canoe with a time of 212.88 – slightly ahead of the French team of Cedric Forgit and Martin Braud. The German’s Christian Bahmann and Michael Senft came in third at 214.47. Fanni Palli-Petralia, the government’s top Olympic official, called the competition «a prelude to the great success of the canoe-kayak events at the Olympic Games.» But even as Greek and foreign sports officials praised the new facility, dirt and debris still covered much of the landscape at the sports complex on the site of Athens’s former international airport. Crews have been working around the clock to meet deadlines. The venue was originally planned to be near the Olympic rowing center in Schinias, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) northeast of Athens. It was moved following complaints from environmentalists and archaeologists. The event was part of important pre-Olympic test events to help organizers assess any problems and make necessary changes before the August 13-29 Games. (AP)