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Olympics 2012: Akinyemi thrilled, despite exit

30 July 2012, 15:02

London - Jonathan Akinyemi became Nigeria's first Olympic slalom canoe competitor on Sunday, although his involvement in the London Games lasted a mere 190 seconds.

That was how long it took the English-born 23-year-old to complete two runs down the churning white water of Lee Valley in the qualifying round of the men's kayak K1 event.

It was not good enough to earn the top 15 spot that would have qualified him for Tuesday's semi-finals, leaving the accounting student cursing a few careless moments.

``It sounds crazy but I was really pleased with the way I paddled today, but the time penalties make it look awful on paper," Akinyemi, who amassed 60 seconds worth of them, told reporters. ``It's one of those things, isn't it?"

Akinyemi grew up in Warrington in the north west of England and was initially set on becoming a motorbike racer.

Instead of a bike, his mother, Heather, bought him a canoe and he has been paddling ever since.

Born to a Nigerian father and an English mother, he went through the junior canoeing ranks in Britain, before deciding to move to experience life in Lagos as a 17-year-old.

``I wanted to get back to my roots. Growing up in Warrington was not that easy as a mixed race kid. Nigeria really supported me and I narrowly missed the 2008 Olympics," he said. 


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