Lucien Delfour off to a good start in Prague
All eight Australians progress to the semi finals on the first day of competition at the slalom world championships
Eight Australians led by Olympic silver medallist Jessica Fox made it a perfect start to the Canoe Slalom World Championships in Prague on Thursday.
Every Australian competitor made it through to the semi-finals of their events, although some had to work a lot harder than others.
Fox showed why she's considered the red hot favourite for the women's C1 when she qualified second fastest despite 'having felt better' on the water and incurring two penalties on her run.
"I probably could have gone a bit faster, but I'm happy with that for a heat run," Fox said. "It felt good once I was on the whitewater, but the warmup was a bit hard because we are racing in the afternoon and I feel better racing in the morning."
Teammate Ros Lawrence posted the fourth quickest time, but also struck penalty trouble. "I felt a little bit stiff after waiting around all morning to race, I'm used to racing a little bit earlier," Lawrence said.
"I definitely need to tidy up the touches, try to go clean, and keep the boat tracking. I had a couple of unplanned spins that I'll try and clear up."
The third Australian in the women's C1, Alison Borrows, had to pull out something special in her second run, and qualified 17th for the semis.
In the men's K1 French Polynesian born Lucien Delfour is lurking in medal contention after two solid heat runs. He's qualified sixth fastest for tomorrow's semi-finals, and is confident he can improve further.
"It's always great to finish top ten in your first run," he said. "I'm just going to aim for a nice clean run in the semi-final, and hopefully it will be enough for the top ten."
Jaxon Merritt qualified 20th fastest and Will Forsythe, in only his second major outing since shoulder surgery, qualified 29th to give Australia three semi-final starters in a highly competitive field.
"I don't know if I can go quicker, but we'll give it a crack," Forsythe said. "I think in the semi it's a whole new game, there's a bit of extra pressure on everyone. For me it's a bonus to be here anyway."
Western Australia's Rob Jeffery promised he would be at season's best for the Worlds, and so far he's delivered by qualifying 16th for the men's C1 semi-finals.
"That second run I was showing a bit of flair, a few unplanned moves out there, but surprisingly quick out," he said.
Like his sister Alison, Ian Borrows also had to pull out something special in his second run to qualify for the C1 semis.
"It's never a good feeling to be out of the top 30 after the first run," he said. "My first run was just silly touches, so I just made sure I had a bit more room on the second. I did make a few more mistakes on the second run, but I did manage to hold my whole run together."
Day two of the Prague World Championships will see heats of the Women's K1 and the semi-finals of the men's K1 and C1.
Friday 13th September
(All times listed AUS EST, 8hrs ahead of Prague, CZE)
5:00pm – K1W Heat Run 1 (Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence/Sarah Grant)
6:04pm – C2M Heat Run 1
6:50pm – K1W Heat Run 2 (Jessica Fox/Rosalyn Lawrence/Sarah Grant)
7:54pm – C2M Heat Run 2
11:30pm – C1M Semifinals (Robin Jeffery/Ian Borrows)
12:35am – K1M Semifinals (Lucien Delfour/Jaxon Merritt/William Forsythe)