The opening day of the 2013 ICF Canoe Slalom U23 and Junior World Championships has concluded down the fast and technical course in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia.
It has been a successful first day for the Australian team with nine paddlers progressing to Friday’s semifinals.
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.
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.
Following a short break for lunch the junior men’s K1 and women’s C1 heats proceeded in the afternoon.
Tasmanian 17 year old Daniel Watkins bounced back from an error marred first run to execute a clean second run of 104.33 to qualify 17th fastest for Friday’s semifinal.
Asked how he felt at the start before his second run he responded, “I just had to keep focus from the word go and just make sure that I paddled around all the gates, and probably do a run that I know is not going to be my fastest, but one that would definitely get me in the top 40.”
Joining Watkins will be Penrith Valley kayaker Angus Thompson who finished 34th.
Western Australian teenager Brodie Crawford finished a lowly 54th, missing the top 40 semifinal cut.
Crawford will have a chance to bounce back in the C1 event tomorrow, his preferred discipline.
The C1 women junior heats rounding out a great days racing for the Australian team in the perfect style with Georgia Rankin (10th), Noemie Fox (12th) and Alexandra Broome (19th) all progressing through to the next stage of the competition.
The action continues tomorrow with the U23 and junior C1 men’s and K1 women’s heats. The semifinals for each event will be contested on Friday before the finals will be raced across Saturday and Sunday.
Please follow links below to Live results and start lists.