After a wet opening day at the Lee Valley White Water Centre, today the sun shone as the first medals of the London 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup were awarded, with Great Britain taking two gold, a silver and a bronze, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Following a successful day of heats, Great Britain had a full complement of six boats in action in the semi-finals racing on another tricky course, and it wasn’t long before five of them progressed to the finals.
After posting the fastest time in this morning’s semi-final, Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) stormed to her 20th World Cup medal, posting the only run under 100 seconds to win gold in 99.42 in the K1 final.
Having been the last to go down, she was delighted with her result and said: “It definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, but it was a really good run and I really enjoyed it.
“It was my first gold in the kayak and I can’t ask for much more. It was a really good run and to have that kind of lead it was great. It’s just about enjoying it, that’s all I’m trying to do.
“The crowd have been amazing, the eruption of the crowd when I finished and to have that atmosphere here is amazing and you can’t ask for anymore really.”
Rugby’s Kimberley Woods narrowly missed out on the bronze medal after putting down a solid run in the same final. A couple of touches meant she was less than half a second off the podium.
“It’s always a gutting place to finish in fourth place. The fact I had two touches makes it harder to deal with but I’m going to refocus and put this race behind me, but I’m more than happy for Mallory to take the gold and it’s great for Britain to have a gold medallist on that podium.
“We’re on a par in training so I know I’m capable of winning especially on our home course, but I knew with the touches I had to get my lines right and I did, but it came down to those touches.”
With precious Olympic selection points also up for grabs this weekend, today’s result puts all three British K1W contenders on equal points going into the final selection event.
“I’ve got two second places now which is a bit annoying but it gives us all the same points leading into the last race so it is going to come down to the World Championships in September.”
CR Cats’ Fiona Pennie had a tough run in the semi-finals and didn’t progress to the final run and she finishes in 29th overall.
In the men’s canoe single (C1) David Florence (Lloyds Register) had been the fastest boat on the water in the morning’s semi final, with only a touch pushing him down to second, with strong, clean performances from Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) in third and Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) in fourth. They then reset for a thrilling final which saw the Brits finish with Silver and Bronze for Burgess and Westley respectively.
Adam Burgess was delighted with his best ever individual performance at a World Cup and the former U23 C1M World Champion, from Stafford and Stone, said: “I’m buzzing, it was a really intense final.
“We knew it was going to be exciting today, and up against two of the British lads in there with selection points decided on this one. I knew I had to see boats come down ahead of me but I was up for the challenge today.
“We knew it was going to be exciting today, and up against two of the British lads in there with selection points decided on this one. I knew I had to see boats come down ahead of me but I was up for the challenge today.”
Delighted to have made the final, Somerset’s Ryan Westley, still recovering from shoulder surgery, was equally thrilled to be on the podium.
He said: “I’m really happy, especially medalling in front of a home crowd when all my family and friends can be here; it makes the effort worth it which is always really nice.
“There have been plenty of people braving the weather the past couple of days so to deliver two medals in one final to a home crowd, it’s only going to get better from now.
“Any other day we probably would have seen David (Florence) in there too. It wouldn’t have taken much more for it to have been three British boats; it just shows how hard it’s going to be to get that Tokyo spot.
“I’d have loved the Olympic selection win today but I can’t really knock my run too much and I’m looking forward to getting stuck back into training.
“My confidence has been pretty low recently, I’ve not had the training behind me to give me the feeling of where I’m at, but knowing I can still put down good enough runs is exciting, but it’s really exciting to see knowing how much more I’ve got to come. I’m really looking forward to the next block.”
It was disappointment for three-time Olympic medallist David Florence, who finished in sixth place in the final, 2.16 seconds off the podium.
“I think most of the racing has gone very well unfortunately I just didn’t quite get it right in the final and I wasn’t good enough today.
“It’s disappointing, it was a really good course. It’s hard but a good challenge. My plan now is to get back to training to get better for the last half of the season.
“I’ve got the World Cup final in Prague which counts towards Olympic selection too so I am looking to perform well there.”
Etienne Chappell claimed Great Britain’s first international Extreme Slalom medal, winning gold in the Men’s K1 in the final event of the day.
Extreme slalom is a combination of all canoeing’s white water disciplines, with competitors racing in identical plastic creek boats. The excitement begins from the very start, with four competitors sliding off a ramp more than two metres above the water and splashing onto the course as one.
From there it’s a race to the first buoy, and it really is a case of anything goes as each paddler tries to steal an advantage over their opponents. As well as negotiating downstream and upstream buoys – with contact being allowed, there is a compulsory eskimo roll and a 360 degree flip.
In the first ever international extreme slalom event to be held in the UK, Newport’s Chappell beat off two World Champions to claim the gold medal and end the day on a high for the Brits.
Cheered on by the British crowd, Chappell, who hails from Newport was absolutely thrilled to top the podium on the sport’s UK international debut. He said: “I turned up for selection just hoping to get through, got through to do this race and I just can’t believe I won.
“Someone told me I was the first British athlete to ever win a medal in this sport in this category and that’s a great feeling.
“I’m doing the extreme slalom in Bratislava as well as the slalom. That’s my main sport but I’ll keep doing this as long as I can.”
DAY 2 RESULTS SUMMARY
David Florence (Lloyds Register) – 6th
Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) – SILVER
Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) – BRONZE
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – 4th
Fiona Pennie (CR Cats) – 29th
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – GOLD
The action continues tomorrow (Sunday 16 June) with semi finals and finals in the women’s C1 and men’s K1.
Etienne Chappel – GOLD
Gareth Forrow – third in semi-final
Aaron White – third in quarter finals
Matt McDiarmid – third in quarter finals
Gabrielle Ridge – third in semi-final 1
Emily Buchanan – fourth in semi-final 1
Emily Davies – third in semi-final 2
You can follow the action in a number of ways:
British Canoeing LIVE Blog: www.britishcanoeing.org.uk/live
For Live Results: http://siwihome.azurewebsites.net/canoe123/live?SessionKey=bcu.20190420
For Live Stream and VOD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXqv-at9HP0
The 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 1 will also be broadcast by BBC Sport with a 90 minute highlights programme on BBC Two, alongside live content from the three day event on the BBC Sport digital channels and Red Button service (schedules subject to change).