South African kayak legend Bridgitte Hartley raced to the women’s K1 1000m bronze medal at the at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Portugal.
Hartley completed a bronze treble adding to the third-place finishes from the Dartmouth 2009 and Moscow 2014 world championships in the K1 1000m and the K1 500m respectively.
The London 2012 bronze medallist was in fine form on Friday coming within a whisker of finally upgrading from bronze to silver.
Hungary’s Dora Bodonyi successfully defended her title claiming victory with a time of 4:02.892 after spending most of the race in front.
Hartley produced a kick of note over the final 200m where she was just beaten by Great Britain’s Lizzie Broughton.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it. That was one of my best comeback races of all time,” Hartley said.
“I was coming up to the 500 metre mark feeling a bit doubtful. The British girl picked it up at the end and I expected her to die slightly, but she just didn’t die.
“I kept trying and trying and then I just figured, I have nothing left but I have to race her to the line, and we took the German girl out and got onto the podium. It’s so exciting to be back on the world stage.”
Hartley has not raced in a major sprint event since the Rio Olympic Games where she failed to make it into the A-finals.
She has since turned her focus on longer-distance paddling and will be looking for more silverware at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Portugal next month.