Majorca's Marcus Cooper takes gold for Spain. | EFE / Lavandeira jr

Oxford-born Marcus Cooper Walz today won a gold medal for Spain in the canoe sprint-men’s k1. He clearly beat Josef Dostal (Czech Republic) and Roman Anoshkin (Russia), who picked up the bronze.

Marcus was born in Oxford in 1985, his mother is German and his father British, but he was brought up from an early age on the island and says that, despite having been born in the UK, "in his heart he feels Spanish".

And today he gave his heart and soul in the final to comfortably defeat the field.

"It was the race of my life, I am over the moon," he said after the race and picking up Spain’s fourth gold medal, taking the country’s medal haul to six.

Marcus admitted that he never ruled out winning a medal in his career but very nearly did not make the Spanish team for Rio.

"Once I got here, I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped in the semifinals and I only just booked a place in the final. To be honest, I had set myself a target of a medal in Tokyo 2020, not in Rio."

He now hopes that he will also be included in the 500 metre sprint, his favourite competition.

"I always knew that I could pull something big off and my objective has always been an Olympic gold, but I set myself the target of Tokyo at the earliest. To have won gold so young is just amazing. I got off to a good start but come midway, the toughest point of the race, I was side by side with my competitors. At 400 metres I said to myself ‘it’s now or never’ and I really started to attack and was first over the finish line where my mother was waiting, She was more pleased than I was."