Pic by Delly Carr/Australian Canoeing
Three-time World Champion Jessica Fox and younger sister Noemie have finished one-two in the C1 final of the canoe slalom Australian Open at Penrith in NSW.
The two-time Olympic medallist finished almost ten seconds ahead of her sister, with the Czech Republic’s Tereza Fiserova third, and said it was a great thrill to share the podium with Noemie.
“I was really happy with my run, I executed it the way I planned, and I was happy to see the little sis doing well,” Jessica Fox said.
“For me I try not to put too much emotion into it. We’re sisters, but we’re also competitors on the start line, so each does their best.
“I know I have to watch my back a little bit, that maybe she’s watching me more closely now. But it’s a good competitive rivalry that we have, and we have a great relationship.
“We train together, and we support each other on the water as well. I think her improving is only going to be better for me as well.”
By finishing second Noemie Fox has qualified for the Australian C1 team for this year’s World Cups and will make her World Championship debut in Pau, France, later this year – which is also her favourite slalom venue.
And coming from a family where both her mother and father were world-class paddlers, and sister Jessica is a two-time Olympic medallist and multiple World Champion, she knows the pressure is on.
“They’ve definitely set the bar pretty high,” she said.
“But it’s good because I know what being the best looks like, and what it takes to achieve it. I’ve grown up with great role models and it’s a really good environment so I’m happy to be in that situation.
“Jess is the best paddler, and to be able to train with her all the time is extremely rewarding.”
Two-time world champion, Jiri Prskavec, proved his class with a 2.80 second win against a world-class men’s K1 field, with American paddler Michal Smolen second and Olympic gold medallist, Joe Clarke, third.
Australia’s Lucian Delfour picked up a two-second penalty, which dropped him from the bronze medal position to sixth overall.
In the men’s C2, Olympic gold medallist and brothers, Peter and Ladislav Skantar, finished just 0.30 seconds ahead of the French team of Nicolas Scianimanico and Hugo Cailhol.
In Australian team selection news, the women’s C1 team for this year is set to be Jessica and Noemie Fox, and Ros Lawrence, while the men’s K1 team is likely to be Lucien Delfour, Warwick Draper and Jaxon Merritt.
The women’s K1 and the men’s C1 finals will be contested on Sunday at Penrith’s Whitewater Stadium.