Five medals for GB paddlers in Prague.

Five medals for GB at Slalom European Championships

Great Britain has claimed five medals at the 2018 ECA Slalom European Championships in Prague.

In the men’s C1 24-year-old Ryan Westley became European Champion, winning his first senior title.

Inspired by teammate Adam Burgess, who was lying first, he pulled off a stunning clean run, posting a time of 95.48 seconds which was 1.57 seconds quicker than Burgess in second spot.

It was then down to the remaining seven paddlers to chase them both down, including team-mate David Florence who finished ninth.

But with the pressure well and truly applied by the early starters, nobody could match the young British duo. Excited to win his first senior title, Ryan Westley said:

“I’ve had a senior second and a senior third before, but to stand on top of the podium is a completely different feeling and to hear the national anthem play was awesome!

“All my medals have come before when I have been off early in the final. When I heard that Adam had gone quicker than anybody in the semi-final, I got the bit between my teeth to try and get the best run I possibly could and stay mistake free.”

Great Britain’s track record of success in the women’s C1 continued with World Champion Mallory Franklin taking the silver medal.

In the final, Franklin set off halfway down the field and with just one touch on gate 16 posted the time to beat of 119.58.

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Four other paddlers including teammates Kimberley Woods and Bethan Forrow tried to chase her down, but only the Austrian, Viktoria Wolffhardt manged to pip her to the title, by just 0.57 seconds.

2017 European Champion, Kimberley Woods finished in tenth with Bethan Forrow, making her senior international debut at just 17-years-old, finish in ninth place.

The talented trio of Franklin, Woods and Forrow then combined forces in the C1 team event and finished more than six seconds ahead of France to retain their European crown, with Spain in third.

Fiona Pennie got her season off to a brilliant start, claiming bronze in the women’s single kayak (K1), her third European medal in this event.

The, 35-year-old, competing in her 16th international season, completed the final in a time of 102.91 seconds, behind second placed Austrian Corinna Kuhnle, and Germany’s Ricarda Funk.

Kimberley Woods qualified for the final, finishing in sixth place, with Mallory Franklin placed in 15th .In the men’s K1 19-year-old Chris Bowers put down one of the runs of his life for the others to chase, to rank first for a large part of the race.

In the end he was nudged down the leader board and finished in fifth, delivering his best ever senior result by a huge margin in only his third year on the senior team.

23-year-old Bradley Forbes-Cryans also had an outstanding weekend to qualify for his first European Championships final and post his first ever top ten senior result, finishing in eighth.

Olympic Champion Joe Clarke also showed some good consistency, but wasn’t quite able to find the speed in the final to challenge the leaders and finished 11th.