Robert McIntyre has stepped up to a new level of competition and made his first World Championship final in Solkan, Slovenia.
McIntyre put down a sharp qualification first run time of 62.64 seconds which was the 7th fastest time of the qualification.
The competition in the K1M final was tough, the pace was set early by 10th fastest qualifier Richard Hala from the Czech Republic with a sharp time of 62.26 seconds. Robert McIntyre was fast at the top of the course with the 6th fastest split but faltered slightly on the bouncy whitewater towards the end of the course which saw him finish with a time of 63.63 and ultimately place 12th. Afterwards he was still ecstatic about the result and was happy to be in the final mixing it with the best.The 20 year old has improved considerably on his 29th position at last year’s world champs.
McIntyre partly attributes his success to his well planned season.
“coming to Europe to train and compete one month before the race is really paying dividends.”
Reigning world champion Nejc Znidarcic ultimately took the lead with 3 paddlers left with a time of 62.10 seconds and held that until the last run to be made by the Olympic Flatwater Sprint kayaker Maxime Richard from Belguim. In an exciting final run Maxime clinched the world championship with a blistering run of 61.50.
The World Wildwater Sprint Championships commenced on Friday. The previous evening saw the opening ceremony in the town square of Solkan where some 180 athletes representing 21 nations gathered. After the welcoming speeches from local and ICF dignitaries the athletes and local crowd were treated to entertainment from local dance companies.
Competition commenced on day 1 with the preliminary rounds of the men's C2 and women’s K1. In the woman's K1 Australian women Kristy Packham and Maddie Batters were in action. Kristy came away 21st with a time of 73.88 seconds while Maddie who is still a Junior in her first ever international competition placed 25th with a time of 75.61. Both girls said they were happy with their runs. Great Britain's Hannah Brown was the fastest place getter in the heats with a blistering time of 67.4.
The finals were held later in the evening under lights in what proved to be a spectacular setting with a great crowd amassed to cheer on the competitors. The finals commenced with the C2 men in what the locals hoped would be a trifecta of Slovenian paddlers, having completed the preliminary rounds placed one, two and three. Unfortunately it was not to be the case with the Czech Republic team taking the bronze, but to the delight of the local crowd the Slovenian's finished in first and second place.
The women's final was an exciting event with the young gun Melanie Mathys from Switzerland, the ninth seed setting the early pace for everyone to catch with a time of 68.95 seconds. The former Junior
World champion held that first place right up to the last run by Hannah Brown from Great Britain who withstood the pressure to prevail with a victory in the time of 68.13 seconds. Third place was rounded
out by the French competitor and European champion Sixtine Malaterre in a time of 69.08 seconds.
Day 2 of the event saw the C1W, K1M and C1M. Australian K1M competitor Thomas Mountney finished in 26th place with a time of 64.97 seconds closely followed by Alex McIntyre in 32nd place in 65.34 seconds.
The C1M was taken out by Normen Weber (Germany) in a time of 68.05, followed by Guillaune Alzingre (France) and Blaz Cof (Slovenia) who also races internationally in slalom.
Some familiar names found themselves on the podium in the C1W, with the 1st and 2nd place winners from last year’s sprint World Championships repeating their performances. Marjolene Hecquet of France took the win for the second year in a row, with a time of 76.77 seconds in front of teammate Julie Paoletti and Switzerland’s Sabine Eichenberger.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s results with Tom Mountney and Alex and Rob McIntyre looking to build on their individual performances in the teams event.
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