The Union Jacks flew proudly over the Lee Valley White Water Centre again today, as Great Britain claimed two gold and a silver to finish as top nation at the London Canoe Slalom World Cup.
With a total of three gold, two silver and bronze in canoe slalom and a further gold in extreme slalom, this was GB’s best ever result at a World Cup, demonstrating the country’s growing dominance in the sport.
Buoyed by her win in the women’s single kayak (K1) yesterday, Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) made it double gold with a win in the women’s canoe single (C1). Last to go in the final, she posted an outstanding run of 106.82 seconds, to nudge teammate Kimberley Woods (Rugby) into silver medal position by a mere 0.63 of a second, with Australia’s Jessica Fox in third.
Mallory said: “I was aware of what Kim did, hearing it when I warmed up, but I knew there were bits in my semi that meant I could get a quicker time out. I was just happy to put that run down and come out on top.”
“Double gold is truly insane! When you go off last in the final you have that knowledge instantly of how it has ended up, but you don’t really have the time to take it in. I has been a crazy weekend but I have really enjoyed it.”
After finishing in fourth yesterday in the K1, Kimberley was determined to get on the podium today and with an early fast run in the final she laid down the gauntlet leaving the others to chase her down.
Excited to join Mallory on the podium she said: “I am thrilled, although it’s a bit bitter sweet losing out on Olympic points to Mallory, but it’s been two years since I have been on a World Cup podium with a few fourths since then. So to come out with a really good run when I wasn’t really feeling it this morning and make it through to the final and get through those emotions in the two hours in between makes me really proud of myself and my team for helping me through that.”
Scotland’s Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) also rose to the occasion qualifying for her second senior final in two-weeks to finish tenth.
Very satisfied with her performance she said: “I had a few mistakes in that final run and just didn’t quite get it together, but all the other ones over the weekend have been great. Overall it has been a great experience and particularly to race in front of a home crowd has been a great opportunity. I have gained a lot of experience from this and I am super excited to go away and race over the next few weeks and see what I can do.”
Determined to add to the party atmosphere, Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone), thrilled the crowd with the last run of the day in the men’s kayak single (K1) to also top the podium with Jiri Prskavec (Czech Republic) in second and Germany’s Hannes Aigner in third.
Joe Clarke said: “This is fantastic! I got into a bit of trouble round the oval section but that home crowd behind me all the way really pushed me to the finish. I felt pressure on the final run, off last and you know you are on good form and you expect things of yourself. I got good headspace on the start line and went out there and performed.”
It was so close to there being a second Brit on the podium for the second time in two races, with a touch on upstream gate nine ultimately proving costly for Chris Bowers (Stafford & Sone) who finished in fourth.
Pleased to have made his first ever World Cup final Chris said: “I am pretty happy. A bit disappointed to just miss out on the podium as without that touch I would have been second, but overall pretty happy on the back of my disappointing Euros result.”
There was disappointment however for Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) who missed out on the final, failing to find his usual top boat speed on the Lee Valley rapids.
Reflecting on his performance he said: “I am absolutely gutted to be out the final. The run didn’t even need to be that special and from my qualification run I knew I was capable of doing that, but then little bits started falling apart.”
With vital Olympic qualification points slipping away from Bradley today he added: “The next qualification race is on La Seu (d’Urgell), so I am just going to have to do the best I can to get in good shape for the World Championships and it is going to have to be a medal there now to go to the Olympics.”
Whilst Olympic selection will go down to the wire at the World Championships at the end of September, Joe Clarke and Mallory Franklin have claimed maximum points his weekend to put themselves in a strong position in the men’s K1 and women’s C1 respectively. The honours are currently even in the women’s K1, whilst Adam Burgess heads the men’s C1 ranking after what was their opening selection race.
Mark Ratcliffe, Canoe Slalom Head Coach reflected on a fabulous weekend of racing saying: “I am so proud of how the whole team operates and their performances across the board to give us our best ever World Cup. 10 finals, six medals including three gold is amazing.
“We want to get to Tokyo with athletes in every class who are capable of winning. We are not quite there yet but we are certainly moving in the right direction and we will now look to move things on again for the World Championships.”
DAY 3 RESULTS SUMMARY
Women’s C1 Heats
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Final 1st GOLD
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – Final 2nd SILVER
Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) – Final 10th
Men’s K1 Heats
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – Final 1st GOLD
Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – Final 4th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) – Semi final 17th