Defending champs advance to canoe, kayaking semis

Aug. 13, 2008, 12:02 p.m. (ET)

BEIXIAOYING TOWN, China (AP) The defending Olympic gold medalists in men's canoe double and women's kayak put up the best times Wednesday.

In the men's canoe double, brothers Peter and Pavol Hochschorner of Slovakia had the best combined time after two heats Wednesday. Their mark of 186.73 seconds edged France's Cedric Forgit and Martin Braud, who finished the heats in 188.56 seconds.

The Chinese team of Hu Minghai and Shu Junrong, which beat the Hochschorners at the Oceania Continental championships in March, had the third-best time of 190.64 seconds. Ten teams will compete in the semifinals on Thursday, with the finals to follow.

In the women's kayaking singles event, defending Olympic champion Elena Kaliska of Slovakia produced the best combined time of 186.19. She'll be among 15 individuals who will compete in Thursday's semifinals in hopes of reaching the finals later in the day.

China's Li Jingjing, ranked fourth in the world, had the second-best time of 187.56. World No. 3 Violetta Oblinger Peters of Austria made the semifinals, but only posted the sixth-best combined time.