Raman Piatrushenka

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Raman Piatrushenka
Abalmasau, Piatrushenka, Litvinchuk, Makhneu 2010 Belarusian stamp.jpg
Beijing K-4 1000 m team on a 2010 Belarusian stamp: Abalmasau, Piatrushenka (2nd left), Litvinchuk and Makhneu
Personal information
Born (1980-12-25) 25 December 1980 (age 37)
Kalinkavičy, Belarus
Height 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 91 kg (201 lb)
Sport
Sport Canoe sprint
Club SK FPB Mazyr
Coached by Vladimir Shantarovich

Raman Ivanavich Piatrushenka or Roman Petrushenko (Belarusian: Раман Іванавіч Пятрушэнка; born 25 December 1980) is a Belarusian sprint canoeist who has competed since 2000. Competing in three Summer Olympics, he won four medals with one gold (K-4 1000 m: 2008), one silver (K-2 200m: 2012) and two bronzes (K-2 500 m: 2004, 2008).

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 K-4 crew which won both the 500 m and 1000 m 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 K-1 national champion. Now wishing to concentrate on the K-1, he initially refused to join the senior K-4 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 500 m and 1000 m 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 1000 m gold medal, as well as retaining both K-4 titles. Having rejoined the senior K-4 crew on a permanent basis he won his first world championship medal, the K-4 1000 m 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 500 m. At the 2003 World Championships in Gainesville, USA, they claimed the silver medal.

In 2004 at the Athens Olympics they won the K-2 500 m bronze medal. They were disappointed not to do better but in the final a false start by eventual silver-medalists 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.

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. He also won nine more medals at the ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships with six gold (K-2 200 m: 2007, 2009; K-2 500 m: 2009, 2010; K-4 200 m: 2009, K-4 1000 m: 2009), two silvers (K-2 500 m: 2007, K-4 1000 m: 2010), and a bronze (K-4 1000 m: 2006).

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 sprinter who can cope with such heavy training loads.

In June 2015, he competed in the inaugural European Games, for Belarus in canoe sprint, more specifically, Men's K-2 1000m with Vitaliy Bialko and K-4 1000m with Pavel Miadzvedzeu, Aleh Yurenia, and Vitaliy Bialko. He earned bronze medals in both areas.

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