Delfour & Fox win National titles


Lucien Delfour
Tom Collings, Saturday, 25 January 2014

Lucien Delfour has claimed his first K1 National title as Jessica Fox wins a second National title in as many days on day two of the Australian Open and National Slalom Championships in Penrith today.

Delfour won the K1M National title after executing a clean first run down the technical 20 gate course.

Delfour won in 83.87, half a second ahead of fellow NSWIS kayaker William Forsythe.

“It is actually the first time ever for me”, Delfour said.

Frenchman Etienne Daille was one of a number of highly credentialed athletes amongst the K1M field.

Asked if having athletes of the calibre of Daille motivates him to go faster Delfour responded, “It does because you want to see how you go compared to those French guys because they are at the top level and it is always a good reference.”

Forsythe was happy with his second place finish today but focused on selection tomorrow.

"Yeah it was a good hit out today”, Forsythe said.

"It was good to have a chance to get out there and feel the water and get involved in a race again. It was our first race since Worlds so it was good."

Victorian Jaxon Merritt finished third 1.66 seconds behind Delfour’s winning time, but good enough to clinch the U23 National title.

Merritt was happy with his win in the U23s.

“It is always nice, I am looking more towards the senior team these days given it is my last year in the U23s so that is obviously the focus but it is always nice to do well in U23s.”

Penrith junior Angus Thompson won the junior classification in 94.25 despite a two second penalty for a gate touch.

Jessica Fox made it two National titles in as many days with victory in the C1W.

The 19 year old demonstrated why she was the C1W ICF World Cup champion in 2013 executing a near perfect run under pressure, overhauling Rosalyn Lawrence’s first run time.

Despite incurring a two second penalty for a gate touch, Fox won in 101.17, 0.37 seconds ahead of Lawrence with Penrith canoeist Alison Borrows finishing third more than six seconds behind.

"It was a really good race-off between Ros (Lawrence) and myself, we are very competitive with each other and we have done some pretty fast times so I am happy to have improved on my second run and happy with how I have gone", Fox said.

The younger Fox, Noemie won the junior National C1W title ahead of fellow Penrith paddler Alexandra Broome and yesterday’s K1 winner Kate Eckhardt of Hobart.

The Penrith Valley product has put herself in a strong position in the chase for selection to compete at the ICF Junior and U23 World Championships, her main goal for 2014.

"I want to paddle to the best of my ability and obviously compete at the World Championships in April because it is my home course and do my best there and see how I rank compared to all the other internationals”, she said.

The C2M event concluded the program on Saturday with the senior 2013 pairing of Robin Jeffery and Ethan Hodson a class above their rivals winning in 99.24.

Hodson’s preparation has been limited after post season wrist surgery last year.

"It was really good, we put together a couple of really solid runs considering the time we had out of the boat we are pretty happy with what we have achieved."

The 24 year old finished fourth in Friday’s C1M title race but is looking forward on building on that performance in the battle for tomorrow’s Australian Open title.

"I knew I was probably going to be a little bit behind the game, but just to put down something that was pretty solid that I can build on and maybe something can happen tomorrow, we will see what happens”, Hodson said.

Western Australian teenagers Brodie Crawford and Steven Lowther recovered from a horror first run when their boat overturned to finish second after posting a time of 120.61.

Crawford is pleased with his event to date which included winning the C1M Junior National title on Friday.

"I think it has been quite a good weekend, in C1 I was a bit nervous I think and unstable but I sorted it out in the second run and managed to get a win so it was good.”

“The run just then with Steve (Lowther) was good after we went for a bit of a swim in the first run which is a bit embarrassing but it felt good and probably the best we have paddled together."

Tasmanian duo Daniel Watkins and Andrew Eckhardt finished third more than 22.03 seconds behind the Hodson and Jeffery.

Racing continues tomorrow with the Australian Open champions for all disciplines to be decided.  The selection battle will also be fiercely fought with positions in the senior, U23 and junior teams up for grabs.

Sunday’s program will begin with the C1M and K1M semifinal from 8am AEST.

Please refer to the links below for more information including today’s results.

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