Photo by Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media
Two-time Olympian Jess Fox has led an Australian domination of the women’s C1 final at the Oceania Championships in Auckland, with the 22-year-old taking the title by an incredible 13 seconds.
The win brought up the K1/C1 double for Fox, at the start of the first Olympic cycle since C1 was added to the Olympic program.
Fellow Rio Olympian, Lucien Delfour, finished third in a world-class men’s K1 final.
Fox was in devastating form, picking up a two-second penalty but still having plenty of time to spare over the rest of the field.
Fellow NSW’s paddler, Ros Lawrence, finished second, while 19-year-old Tasmanian, Kate Eckhardt, continued her outstanding Oceania Championships, picking up another bronze medal to add to her K1 third 24 hours earlier.
But there was no denying Fox, who quickly re-grouped after running into early trouble.
“I hit gate 1, which could’ve made it a bad start, but I think it actually fired me up and made me attack it a bit more, because I knew I had that 2sec time penalty,” the reigning world champion said.
“I was really happy with the run after that and I executed the plan that I had in my head.”
American Michal Smolen snatched the men’s K1 title from Olympic champion Joe Clarke (Great Britain) in a thrilling final.
Smolen had something to prove after his semifinal run, where he qualified fourth-fastest.
“I had quite a rough semifinal and needed to fix a few things in the final but ended up having a really good run, just from top to bottom,” Smolen said.
His time of 86.17secs was 1.83secs faster than Clarke, although the Englishman did have the satisfaction of clocking the fastest time of the day, 86.02 in the semifinal.
Australian Lucien Delfour was third, just ahead of New Zealand’s Callum Gilbert (91.32), with world No 3 Mathieu Biazizzo sandwiched in fifth between Gilbert and another New Zealander, Finn Butcher.
Kiwi Olympians Mike Dawson and Luuka Jones both rolled in their respective finals on the tough Vector Wero Whitewater Park course, ruining their chances of challenging for a title.
The next big event on the canoe slalom calander is the Australian Open in Penrith later in February, with Fox fired up for a big performance on home water after winning both K1 and C1 titles this weekend.
“For me, the job’s done – that was part of our selection series and winning here got me on the Australian team in both C1 and K1, so now I can let loose and attack at the Australian Open,” she said.
Oceania canoe slalom championships
Vector Wero Whitewater Park
C1 women: Jessica Fox (Australia) 102.62 1, Rosalyn Lawrence (Australia) 115.69 2, Kate Eckhardt (Australia) 117.80 3, Noemie Fox (Australia) 120.54 4, Sona Stanovska (Slovakia) 124.12 5, Alison Borrows (Australia) 132.15 6, Alexandra Broome (Australia) 136.35 7, Kelly Travers (New Zealand) 136.52 8, Demelza Wall (Australia) 148.73 9, Claire Jacquet (France) 167.06 10, Luuka Jones (New Zealand) 433.40 11.
K1 men: Michal Smolen (United States) 86.17 1, Joe Clarke (Great Britain) 88.00 2, Lucien Delfour (Australia) 89.26 3, Callum Gilbert (New Zealand) 91.32 4, Mathieu Biazizzo (France) 91.44 5, Finn Butcher (New Zealand) 93.92 6, Martin Dougoud (Switzerland) 94.48 7, Mike Dawson (New Zealand) 113.12 8, Quentin Burgi (France) 142.25 9, Tim Anderson (Australia) 144.38 10.