Great Britain topped the medal table after day one of the canoe slalom World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, with an impressive two gold and two bronze from the four team events, demonstrating the squad’s growing strength in depth.
2017 individual C1 World Champion Mallory Franklin and Rugby’s Kimberley Woods retained the C1 women’s team title they won in Pau, France last year, this year joined by 17-year-old Bethan Forrow, making her debut World Championships appearance.
The trio will end an impressive season as European and World Champions.
Earlier in the day, Franklin and Woods combined with Fiona Pennie to claim a bronze medal in the K1 women’s team event. The trio posted a fast time early in the running order. But a two second penalty for a touch on the final gate saw them ultimately nudged down into third behind France and Germany by less than a second.
Speaking on the early success of the 2018 World Championships, Kimberley Woods said:
“I am extremely pleased. I was a little bit nervous going into it, but I am really happy. For the whole team this is one of the best starts we have ever had and it has given us all a lot of confidence going into the heats now. We will all reset and take a look at the heats course now, as every day is day one.”
Elsewhere, the British men matched the women, taking home a gold in the kayak and a bronze in the canoe team events.
K1 Olympic champion, Joe Clarke was hoping the Rio course would once again be a lucky talisman and so it proved.
A storming run in K1 men’s team event from the 25-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent, matched by club mate Chris Bowers and Scotland’s Bradley Forbes-Cryans, laid down the gauntlet to the rest of the world.
The time of 92.45 was more than 1.45 seconds ahead of Poland in second and the Czech Republic in third.
Thrilled with the team’s performance Joe Clarke said:
“I was made up. We knew if we put the run down that we were capable of we would be challenging for a medal, but to come away as world champions in the teams is huge. It is the first time that GB has done this since 1997, which is before Chris was even born!”
David Florence led the charge for the men’s C1 team on the course where he picked up an Olympic silver medal in the C2 event during 2016, with 2018 European Champion Ryan Westley and European silver medallist Adam Burgess all keeping up the pace.
Last to go, the British trio were well up on both splits, but a penalty on gate 14 meant they too had to settle for bronze behind Slovenia and Slovakia.
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Day One World Championships Results Summary
K1M Team: Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone), Bradley Forbes-Cryans (C.R Cats), Christopher Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – 1st GOLD
C1M Team: David Florence (Forth); Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe), Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) – 3rd BRONZE
C1W Team: Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District), Kimberley Woods (Rugby), Bethan Forrow (Lee Valley Paddle Sports Club) – 1st GOLD
K1W Team: Fiona Pennie (C.R Cats), Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District), Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – 3rd BRONZE