Germans put the paddle to the medals

Germany's paltry medal tally at the Olympic Games in London was given a boost by the country's paddle-wielding athletes on Wednesday, with four medals for the kayakers, and a bronze for the ping pong team.

Germans put the paddle to the medals
Photo: DPA

The renowned Teutonic dexterity with the paddle was on full display on Wednesday, with medals all round for the German Olympic paddlers.

Sebastian Brendel, a 24-year-old from Potsdam, raced to gold in the 1,000-metre single canoe sprint on Dorney Lake, coming in just under a second ahead of the Spaniard David Cal Figueroa, while Essen’s Max Hoff won bronze in the 1,000-metre kayak single sprint.

“Unbelievable,” said Brendel after the race for his first ever Olympic gold. “I got into it well and after 250 metres I realized that I was doing something. I could do the course pretty well. I’m enjoying the triumph. I sacrificed so much.”

But Hoff, the former world champion, had hoped for more, but said he was “happy with a medal.”

Brendel also used his moment in the limelight to call for more investment in German sport. “In most sports it’s impossible if you’re not a professional,” he told the Hamburger Abendblatt.

“If we want German sport to be successful in the next few years, then we have to invest more.”

There were also bronze medals for Martin Hollstein and Andreas Ihle in the kayak doubles over the same distance, and silvers all round for the 500-metres kayak fours for women – Katrin Wagner-Augustin, Carolin Leonhardt, Franziska Weber, and Tina Dietze.

The German quartet was pipped by the Hungarians by barely half a second – it was Germany’s first defeat in the Olympic event since 1992.

“At the moment it seems like Germany always gets the silver,” joked veteran of the crew Wagner-Augustin. “Silver is the new gold.”

Meanwhile, the German table tennis team were able to break, or at least slightly loosen, the Asian stranglehold on the table tennis medal table.

Star player Timo Boll won both his singles games in the bronze medal match against Hong Kong, leading the team to a 3-1 victory.

“I had to play at a really high level,” Boll said after the match. “None of us were sure if I could really take the thing. Now we’re going to celebrate.”

The Local/DAPD/bk

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Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden