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Kayakers secure silver to improve 2012 medal.

Liam Heath and Jon Schofield's hard work on and off the water has paid dividends after the London 2012 bronze medallists upgraded to Olympic silver in Brazil.

Together for the past six years, yesterday at Rio's stunning Lagoa the British kayakers secured a podium spot at a second successive Games.

Heath and Schofield followed up some solid displays with a powerful performance in Thursday's K2 200 metres final, starting impressively and maintaining their pace to cross the line in 32.368 seconds.

Spain were clear winners but the pair had to wait nervously to see if they had joined them on the podium, with a frantic finish meaning just 0.12secs split fifth and the British pair in second.

"We saw the Spanish were slightly ahead," Heath said upon returning to dry land.

"Our race was on the other side of the course.

"It's such a fast race.

You cross the line and everyone else crosses the line and you've just got to wait for the judges to pick up the first to finish and then put it up on the board.

"As soon as we saw it on the board, Jon absolutely went mental."

Schofield, smiling, said: "I threw a lot of water in the air. The last Olympics I smashed these paddles in half.

"I was reminded before this race that they are too expensive to do that again. I don't know how much they cost."

It would have been a costly end to a memorable day for the duo, who crossed 0.293s behind winners Spain.

The sprint kayakers appeared as relieved as they were elated after the highly-competitive race, with silver a decent birthday present for Heath after turning 32 on Wednesday.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 19, 2016
Words:286
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