ICF U23 World Championships
The opening day of the 2013 ICF Canoe Slalom U23 and Junior World Championships is underway in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia.
It has been a successful opening morning for the Australian U23 paddlers with four athletes progressing to the semifinals to be raced on Friday.
The day began with the U23 K1 men’s heat with senior World Cup pair Jaxon Merritt of Victoria and Joey Croft of New South Wales progressing to the next stage.
Merritt was the highest placed Australian finishing 21st, 3.57 seconds behind American Michael Smolen who executed a clean run through the 20 gate course to top the timesheet in 98.10.
Croft finished 35th 6.23 seconds behind Smolen.
Asked what the challenging aspects of the course were Croft responded, “It is a long course. Just trying to stay in the main flow all the time is one key point, and then getting down to the bottom section, just being able to hold the power and the strength through the stoppers, it is pretty difficult.”
Victorian Timothy Anderson was unlucky, narrowly missing out on the top 40 semifinal cut by 0.42 seconds in 41st.
The women’s C1 heat followed with London Olympic K1 silver medallist Jessica Fox continuing her excellent World Cup C1 form.
Fox recorded the fastest heat time in her second run of 115.61 to finish streaks clear of the field with British paddler Mallory Franklin second more than seven seconds behind Fox.
Penrith’s Alison Borrows also progressed to the semifinal stage producing the 11th fastest time, comfortably inside the top 20 positions required to progress to the next stage.
Victorian Maggie Webster missed out finishing 22nd, but will have a chance to make amends when she joins Fox and Borrows in the U23 K1 heats tomorrow morning.
There is still plenty of racing to come this afternoon in Slovakia with the junior men’s K1 and women’s C1 heats to be contested.
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