Joe Clarke

Great Britain’s Joe Clarke produced a stunning final run to snatch gold in the kayak K1 at the Rio Olympics.

The 23-year-old British number one from Staffordshire qualified third fastest for the final but posted a time of 88.53 seconds to take first place.

Slovenia’s Peter Kauzer finished 0.17 seconds behind the Briton, with Czech Jiri Prskavec, who picked up a penalty, taking bronze.

I thought if it goes to plan I could come away with a medal but to be Olympic champion it is something you dream about

He told BBC Radio 5 live: “Everything pieced together so nicely, I can’t put it into words. I knew I was capable but to put down that run in the Olympic final, it is a dream come true.

“It is hard to put it into words how much work has gone into this. I have spent a lot of time here, I know this course like the back of my hand and it has paid off.
“There has been lots of ups and downs but it is just fantastic.

“When I woke up I struggled to have breakfast I was so nervous with all the emotions. I thought if it goes to plan I could come away with a medal but to be Olympic champion it is something you dream about.”

Stafford and Stone Canoe club slalom canoeist Clarke won the British Olympic selection trials at Lee Valley White Water Centre.

He was a promising young talent before he finally made his mark on the senior international stage in 2014 when he won a silver medal in K1 at a World Cup event.

Clarke was an outside chance for a medal going into the competition but his odds shortened after a brilliant semi-final where he was third fastest. Slovakia’s Jakub Grigar posted the best time followed by Prskavec, with world champion Kauzer fourth.

In the final, Slovenia’s Kauzer led with three canoeists remaining but his lead only lasted a few seconds when Clarke set the new mark.

Prskavec was next to go and had he not picked up a penalty then the Czech would have won gold.