Raman Piatrushenka

Raman Piatrushenka (or Roman Petrushenko) (Раман Пятрушэнка) (born December 25, 1980 in Kalinkavičy) is a Belarusian flatwater canoer and current (2005) world champion in the K-4 500m kayak. He also won the bronze medal in the K-2 500m at the 2004 Summer Olympics, with teammate Vadzim Makhneu.

Piatrushenka's first success on the international stage came at the 2000 European under-23 Championships in Boulogne, France as a member of the Belarus K4 crew which won both the 500m and 1000m gold medals.

One by one, the members of the under-23 crew were being promoted to the Belarus senior boat. In 2001 however, Piatrushenka destroyed a field of more experienced paddlers to become Belarus individual (K-1) national champion. Now wishing to concentrate on the K-1 he initially refused to join the senior K4 crew as the coaches had planned.

At the 2001 European championships in Milan he was persuaded to enter the K-4 races, winning his first senior medals - the 500m and 1000m bronze. In the K-1 1000m however he could only finish 17th.

At the 2002 European under-23 Championships in Zagreb he won the K-1 1000m gold medal, as well as retaining both K-4 titles. Having rejoined the senior K4 crew on a permanent basis he won his first world championship medal, the K-4 100m silver, in Seville. Senior K-1 races were proving harder though and he again failed to reach any major finals in 2002.

Realising he was not yet ready to challenge for senior K-1 medals he instead teamed up with Vadzim Makhneu to compete in K-2 races. The partnership was an instant success. On their first World Cup outing in Szeged in May 2003 they beat a world-class field including Germans Rauhe and Wieskötter over 500m. At the 2003 World Championships in Gainesville, USA, they claimed the silver medal.

In 2004 at the Athens Olympics they won the 500m bronze medal. They were disappointed not to do better but in the final a false start by eventual silver-medallists Nathan Baggaley and Clint Robinson went unpunished. To make matters worse, Makhneu had stopped paddling after just two strokes, waiting in vain for the Australians to be called back by the starter. The Belarusians had to come through from last place to snatch the bronze medal ahead of the Polish duo of Twardowski and Wysocki.

They also reached the Olympic K4 1000m final, finishing sixth. In 2005 they took a break from the K-2 (and each other). Meanwhile, the Belarusian four, with Piatrushenka as the "engine", established themselves as the top K-4 500m crew in the world. A gold medal at the European Championships in Poznań was followed by victory in the World Championship final in Zagreb. This was Belarus's first world championship team kayak gold medal since independence.

Paying tribute to Piatrushenka's strength and stamina, national team leader and former double Olympic canoe champion Viktor Reneysky has said that he has never seen another kayak spinter who can cope with such heavy training loads.

Piatrushenka is 192 cm (6'4") tall and weighs 88 kg (194 lbs). He is a member of the Mozyr club and is trained by Vladimir Shantarovich.

World Championships

  • 2005 World Championships - gold medal, K4 500m
  • 2005 World Championships - bronze medal, K4, 200m
  • 2003 World Championships - silver medal, K2 500m
  • 2002 World Championships - silver medal, K4 500m

See also

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