19 year old Jessica Fox put in a determined display of whitewater paddling to win C1 gold at the U23 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia today.
It was a gritty performance by the London Olympic K1 silver medallist who recovered from two early gate touches and a mistake on gate 13 to claim an impressive victory.
The Penrith Valley paddler won in 133.62, 2.91 seconds ahead of Austrian Viktoria Wolffhardt and Viktoriya Us of the Ukraine who tied for second place.
“It was a challenging course from the top to the bottom, I had a couple of gate touches, it was a battle for me, then I missed gate 13 but I just had to go back for it but I never stopped that fight and I had to keep going,” said Fox.
Fox was particularly happy to bounce back in the C1 final after a disappointing end to her K1 semifinal on Friday.
“I think in that run I realised it was not over and that I could come back, and I did not want to finish like I did in K1 so I really wanted to do a strong finish and I was relieved with my time at the end.”
The non-Olympic event is pushing for its inclusion on The 2016 Rio Olympic Games program which many believe it’s a must for gender equality in the sport.
A record field of 62 women from 24 countries competed in C1 at the event.
“I am really proud of how far we have come in the C1 ladies.”
“We started this event celebrating our growth, we had 62 women on the start and I think that was fantastic so I think this win means a lot for me, but it’s not just for me it’s for the whole category.”
Overall Fox said she really enjoyed the experience of competing in Liptovsky with the venue constantly packed with adoring fans cheering on the 500 plus athletes in attendance.
“It has been a really memorable event, the crowd has been great and I think the highlight for me has just been to see all the C1 women and to see all the camaraderie we have is just great.”
Earlier in the morning the U23 K1 men’s final kick-started the action with Melbourne Canoe Club kayaker Jaxon Merritt finishing ninth.
The 21 year old executed a clean run through the 21 gate course but could not match for the raw power of Frenchman Mathieu Biazizzo who upstaged reigning champion and current European champion Jiri Prskavec of the Czech Republic for the gold.
Biazizzo won in 96.85, 1.32 seconds ahead of Prskavec with Italian Giovanni De Gennaro clinching third 0.14 seconds further back.
Fox won a second medal in the afternoon combining with Borrows and Melbourne Canoe Club paddler Margaret Webster to win bronze in the U23 C1 women Teams final.
The Australian trio finished over 20 seconds behind Great Britain who clinched the gold medal ahead of Spain.
Inspired by her sister’s heroics, Noemie Fox combined with Western Australian Georgia Rankin and Alexandra Broome of New South Wales to win Gold in the Junior C1 women’s Teams final.
The Australian’s finished 1.24 seconds ahead of Germany with Great Britain third.
The men’s U23 and Junior K1 Team finals were also contested with the Australian crews finishing seventh and 20th respectively.
Racing will continue on Sunday Fox and her fellow team members will look to add to Australia’s medal tally in the U23 and Junior K1W and C1M team finals.
(All times AUS EST, 8hrs ahead of local SVK time).
6:00pm – U23 K1W Final
6:30pm – U23 C1M Final
7:00pm – JNR K1W Final
7:30pm – JNR C1M Final
9:30pm – U23 K1W Teams Final (AUS)
10:10pm – U23 C1M Teams Final (AUS)
10:28pm – JNR K1W Teams Final (AUS)
11:26pm – JNR C1M Teams Final (AUS)
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