Jaxon Merritt advanced to his first K1M semifinal of the series
Australia are off to a good start at the third ICF canoe slalom World Cup in Prague.
The opening day featured the heats for each of the five disciplines (C1W, K1M, C1W, K1W and C2M) with 10 Australian boats progressing to their respective semifinals across Saturday and Sunday.
The day began with the C1M event.
Western Australian Robin Jeffery was the standout producing the 18th fastest heat run of 87.77 to finish 5.61 seconds behind Slovenian Benjamin Savsek who qualified fastest for the semifinal in 82.16.
Joining Jeffery in tomorrow’s semifinal will be New South Welshman Ian Borrows who secured the last of the qualifying places in 30th.
Borrow’s raw time of 86.07 was quick but four seconds in penalties for two gate touches put him on the brink of elimination but he snuck through.
If he can clean up his run tomorrow he will be in contention to reach his first final of the year.
Victorian Christian Fabris was not so fortunate producing for 39th fastest heat run of 91.70 which included two gate touches.
Jeffery later contested the C2M event alongside Ethan Hodson. The pair were unable to produce a clean run and paid the price with their time of 103.70 only good enough for 24th.
Tacen World Cup gold medallists Peter and Ladislav Skantar of Slovakia recorded the fastest run of 91.62.
Jessica Fox picked up from where she left in Tacen to continue her domination of the C1W event.
The 20 year old qualified fastest for tomorrow’s semifinal with her first run time of 102.78 more than two seconds faster than Chinese paddler Qianqian Teng.
Rosalyn Lawrence finished fourth in the heat after also deciding to skip her second run and save her energy for the K1W event in the afternoon.
Alison Borrows improved on her first run by four seconds to post the ninth fastest run of 111.49 which included three gate touches.
Fox continued her excellent form in the K1W heat. Fox initially held the fastest run of 90.31 before being overtaken by three women following the second runs with Fox deciding to sit it out and reserve her energy for a big weekend of racing.
Fox finished 2.44 seconds behind British paddler Fiona Pennie who qualified fastest for Sunday’s semifinal in 87.87. Local favourite Katarina Kudejova was second fastest ahead of world number one Jana Dukatova of Slovakia.
Victorian Sarah Grant will join Fox in the semifinal after qualifying comfortably inside the top 30 in 17th.
Grant’s raw time of 90.92 without the touch would have placed her in the top 10.
Lawrence was unable to repeat her C1W form and failed to advance to the semi in 43rd.
All three Australian men advanced through to the K1M semifinal tomorrow.
Lucien Delfour and Jaxon Merritt both executed clean first runs to qualify 25th and 28th fastest.
Tacen World Cup finalist Will Forsythe produced the fastest raw time of the Australians on their first runs in Prague but received four seconds in penalties.
Forsythe showed excellent composure on his second run to produce a clean run of 82.42 to finish 29th which was comfortably inside the top 40.
Racing will continue on Saturday with the C1M, K1M and C1W semifinals and finals. Please refer to the schedule below and the links at the bottom for more information.
Saturday schedule (AEST):
5:00pm – C1W Semifinal (Fox/Lawrence/Borrows)
5:44pm – C1M Semifinal (Jeffery/Borrows)
6:48pm – K1M Semifinal (Delfour/Merritt/Forsythe)
8:33pm – C1W Final
9:03pm – C1M Final
9:33pm – K1M Final
11:40pm – C1M Teams Final (Borrows/Fabris/Jeffery)
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