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Slovakian canoeist denied victory

Tony Estanguet
Estanguet was awarded the gold after judges decided that his great rival had made a mistake
• Olympics 2004: Special report 
Olympics 2004

ATHENS, Greece -- Tony Estanguet of France retained his title in the C-1 canoe slalom after judges decided that Slovakia's Michal Martikan had hit a gate and gave him a two-second penalty, pushing him into silver medal position.

Estanguet completed the Olympic course in 189.16 seconds, apparently behind Martikan.

"I was at my best. I paddled as I needed to, and that makes me want to continue until Beijing 2008," Estanguet said.

He paid tribute to the Slovakian silver medallist, however.

"He touched a gate, but we're at the same level. He is very strong and you couldn't say that I destroyed him. He is one of the masters of the discipline," Estanguet said.

Stefan Pfannmoller of Germany took the bronze medal.

Slovakian gold

However Slovakia did get their first gold medal when Elena Kaliska the canoeing slalom women's kayak single.

Kaliska, fourth in Sydney 2000, beat Rebecca Giddens of the United States who took the silver and British bronze medallist Helen Reeves.

The 32-year-old five-time World Cup event winner, ranked number one in the world, left her one-time team mate and arch-rival Stepanka Hilgertova of the Czech Republic in fifth.

The pair trained together as part of the Czechoslovak team before the countries split in the "Velvet Divorce" of 1993.

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