Jaxon Merritt is through to U23 K1M final
Day three of the ICF Canoe Slalom U23 and Junior World Championships has concluded in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia with three Australians progressing to their respective finals.
Jaxon Merritt set the tone for the Australians to kick start the day cruising through to the men’s U23 K1 final after he produced the third fastest semifinal time.
The Melbourne Canoe Club paddler finished 0.41 seconds behind Italian Zeno Ivaldi who powered through the 21 gate course in 97.97.
Merritt was nervous at the start but was happy with his semifinal performance.
“At the start I was a little bit on edge but I managed to carry it through the middle section and managed to keep my composure and it ended up okay,” he said.
The final will showcase some of the world’s best young talent with reigning champion and current senior K1 European Champion Jiri Prskavec and local Slovakian paddler Martin Halcin still the men to beat.
NSWIS kayaker Joey Croft finished 35th after four gates touches all but ruined his chance of a top ten finals berth.
The U23 women’s C1 semifinal followed with Penrith duo Jessica Fox and Alison Borrows both progressing to Saturday’s final.
Fox showed nerves of steel as the last C1 women to enter to water, going on to produce the fastest time of 131.95 despite two gate touches.
The 19 year old finished 2.86 seconds ahead of British paddler Mallory Franklin.
Kazakhstan’s Svetlana Polezhayeva produced the third fastest semifinal time, over eight seconds behind Franklin.
Borrow’s snuck into the final in tenth but can count herself somewhat fortunate after she had eight seconds in penalties following four gate touches.
Fox and Borrow’s had a short turnaround before contesting the U23 K1 semifinal.
With just four gates to go Fox the favourite appeared set to move comfortably into Sunday's K1 final when suddenly she found herself upside down and struggling to roll up, flushing past gate 19.
Fox made a brave recovery, fighting back upstream and completing the course but finished outside the top ten in 18th place with a total of 124.64, three seconds shy of the final.
"I made a mistake at the top and after that told myself, get back in, get back in and after that the rest was quite good and then down at gate 18 I just tripped on the bottom and got my paddle stuck under my boat and rolled and that was it. I'm out of the final but I'm glad I've got the C1 (final) tomorrow".
Borrows finished 19th just behind Fox. Despite an early time error and penalty, Borrows paddled the rest of the course with power and conviction showing her best form of the season and improving on her ranking at last year's Under 23 world championships.
The U23 C1 men’s semifinal concluded an exciting start to day three in Slovakia with NSWIS canoeist Ethan Hodson finishing 25th.
Unfortunately no Australian junior paddlers advanced to their respective finals in the afternoon session.
The physical demands of the course proved a tough task for the majority of the junior paddlers, with every athlete in the C1 women’s event producing at least two gate touches.
Luck was not on Noemie Fox’s side in the Junior C1 semifinal, with the talented teenager missing out on a finals berth by just 0.02 seconds.
Fox finished in 11th, one spot ahead of Western Australian 18 year old Georgia Rankin, while Alexandra Broome had three missed gates to finish in 19th place.
Tasmanian Daniel Watkins went close in the men’s K1 semifinal missing out by 1.11 seconds in 12th.
Watkins raw time of 105.02 would have been good enough for seventh and a place in the final but three gate touches resulting in a six second time penalty all but ended his pursuit of a spot in the final.
Competing at his first Junior World Championships, 16 year old Penrith kayaker Angus Thompson finished 22nd.
It was a great result by Thompson who succeeded even his own expectations in reaching the semifinal.
“I didn’t really expect to make the semifinal, just being here ticked the box,” said Thompson.
“This is my first international experience other than going to New Zealand so it is pretty big compared to what I have done.”
Rankin and Fox backed up to contest the junior K1 semifinal finishing 17th and 21st respectively.
Derwent kayaker Kate Eckhardt finished 25th.
The C1 men’s semifinal was the final event of the day with Watkins finishing 30th.
Australia will have three finalists competing on Saturday, Jaxon Merritt (U23 K1), Jess Fox (U23 C1) and Alison Borrows (U23 C1). Team finals will then proceed in the afternoon.
Please follow links below to Live results, live stream and start lists.
6:00pm – U23 K1M Final (Jaxon Merritt)
6:30pm – U23 C1W Final (Jessica Fox/Alison Borrows)
7:00pm – U23 C2M Final
7:30pm – JNR K1M Final
8:00pm – JNR C1W Final
8:30pm – JNR C2M Final
10:42pm – U23 K1M Teams Final (AUS)
11:58pm – U23 C1W Teams Final (AUS)
12:16am – U23 C2M Teams Final
12:34am – JNR K1M Teams Final (AUS)
1:29am – JNR C1W Teams Final (AUS)
1:50am – JNR C2M Teams Final
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