Zoltan Kammerer (left) has claimed a European Games gold means nothing ©Getty Images

Hungary’s three-time Olympic champion Zoltan Kammerer admitted that being part of the winning men’s K4 1000 metres team would have meant more if had earned them a place in next year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

Kammerer, alongside teammates David Toth, Tamas Kulifai and Daniel Pauman, surged to victory in a time of 3min 07.063sec, comfortably beating crews from Russia and Belarus.

The 37-year-old veteran was presented with his gold medal by European Olympic Committees (EOC) President Patrick Hickey, the architect of these Games, and Kammerer’s comments surely will come as a disappointment.

Unlike some other sports on the programme here, victory does not earn a qualifying place for next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. 

"So in that respect it does not mean anything," said Kammerer. 

"The field is European, but almost of Olympic level, the organisation is of Olympic level too."

Unsurprisingly, Hungary will leave Mingachevir top of the canoe sprint medals standings with five, while Germany and Belarus both claimed three.

Serbia were at the double while Poland and Lithuania sealed one apiece.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Danuta Kozak got Hungary off to the perfect start as she raced home in the women’s K1 500 metres a time of 2min 03.569sec, finishing ahead of Austria’s Yvonne Schuring and Ewelina Wojnarowska of Poland came through to take bronze.

Miklos Dudas then upset Olympic champion Ed McKeever by claiming victory in the men’s K1 200m, finishing in 35.132sec, which proved enough to beat Petter Menning of Sweden, and the Briton came through in third.

It also proved to be a strong day for Serbia as the team of Milica Starovic and Dalma Ruzicic-Benedek, who used to compete for the Hungarians, sent the Serbia contigent into raptures by clinching gold in the women’s K2 500m, powering through to take the title by clocking 1:49.904.

Serbian pair Milica Starovic and Dalma Ruzicic-Benedek claimed a superb victory for their nation in the women's K2
Serbian pair Milica Starovic and Dalma Ruzicic-Benedek claimed a superb victory for their nation in the women's K2 ©Getty Images

Romania’s Roxana Borha and Elena Meroniac were narrowly edged into second, while Hungary, made up of Anna Karasz and Ninetta Vad won yet another medal by sealing bronze.

“I come from Hungary, I competed for Hungary and won medals in the world championships but I never got to go to the Olympic Games,” Ruzicic Benedek said.

“But I'm over that now and I don't feel regret.”

Marko Novakovic and Grujic Nebojsa reigned supreme in the men’s K2 200m, beating Germany’s Ronald Rauhe and Tom Liebscher with a time of 31.910 in what was arguably the closest finish of the canoe sprint competition so far.

Hungary’s medal tally increased once again thanks to Peter Molnar and Sandor Totka, who came through to take bronze.

Elsewhere, Lithuania won their first European Games gold when Henrikas Zustautas powered to a superb win in the C1 200m in 40.064, while the home crowd inside a packed venue saw their nation win silver as Valentin Demyanenko was third.

A packed-out crowd watched the day's final events unfold in Mingachevir
A packed-out crowd watched the day's final events unfold in Mingachevir ©Getty Images

Poland also topped the podium for the first time thanks to Marta Walczykiewicz, who won the women's K1 200m in 40.795, edging Natalia Podolskaya of Russia, while two-time medallist Danuta Kozak’s bid for a hat-trick of golds ended in disappointment as she had to settle for bronze.

Belarus built on their success yesterday, thanks largely to Maryna Litvinchuk, who was part of the duo alongside Marharyta Makhneva which clocked 37.399 to clinch victory in the K2 200m.

She then went on to take the long distance 5000m crown in a time of 22:48.990.

Germany’s Max Hoff will also leave the inaugural European Games with double gold as he won the men’s K1 5000m in a time of 20:01.864, which followed his men’s K1 1000 metres triumph yesterday.

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