It was a gold day for Australian Canoeing’s Slalom Paddlers at the third and final day of the 2018 Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships in Auckland, New Zealand (27 January to 29 January 2018) with Olympians Jessica Fox (NSW) and Lucien Delfour (NSW) winning the women’s C1 and men’s K1 respectively. Ros Lawrence (NSW) added another bronze in the women’s C1 to a successful final day in Auckland for Australia.
Already yesterday (Sunday, 29 January 2018) Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) won silver in the women’s K1, Daniel Watkins (TAS) silver in the men’s C1 and Brodie Crawford (WA) bronze in the men’s C1. See day two media release here.
Held at the tricky artificial rapids at Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Auckland, the Canoe Slalom Oceania Championships was the first major hit-out of the 2018 international canoe slalom season and a selection relevant event for the Australian team with results counting towards the 2018 Australian Canoe Slalom National Team Selection.
Olympic medallist Jess Fox had a successful wrap of the Oceania Championships clocking 109.42secs in the final and winning the women’s C1 2.71 secs ahead of New Zealander Luuka Jones, despite a touch. The win capped off a straight series in the event after Fox already won the qualifying on Saturday (28 January 2018) and was ranked first after this morning’s semi-final. Teammate Rosalyn Lawrence joined Fox on the podium after finishing third in 116.39.
The win was a relief for Fox, who missed a gate in yesterday’s K1 final and ended up eighth despite clocking the fastest time in the final: “I was a bit disappointed with the K1 but the speed was there – it was just some technical errors that cost me dearly. It happens, I put it behind me and came back well today and put down some good paddling in the C1. It’s a really tough course and you really have to be smooth the whole way down. I paddled nicely in the semi and then tried to attack it a little bit more in the final.”
“All in all I’m pretty happy with this weekend. It was our first selection trial and we’ll have two more races in the K1 and C1 at the Australian Open mid-Feb,” Fox added about the tasks ahead.
Fox continues to be pushed by a strong Australian women’s team with Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) winning bronze, Noemi Fox (NSW) following in fourth and winning the U23 category, and Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt finishing seventh and third in the U23s. Alison Borrows (NSW) finished eighth.
Australia’s strong performances continued in the men’s K1 with Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) holding off defending champion Michal Smolen (United States) to win a tight men’s K1 final.
The top six men all posted clean runs, with Delfour’s 88.89sec effort just 0.04secs in front of Smolen, with Mathieu Biazizzo (France) 0.39secs further back.
“I’m pretty happy with my performance here. A couple of mistakes, but it’s great to go home with this, especially as it counts towards our selections and this is a difficult course,” Delfour said. “It’s one of the hardest courses in the world – it’s not big but it’s so technical. I did the Whitewater XL at the end of last year which was super-early in the season but it gave me more time on this course You’ve got to find balance and smooth paddling, which luckily suits me – I try not to paddle too hard, otherwise you just waste energy.”
It was a tight field in the men’s K1, with Delfour’s teammate and 2018 Australian National Champion Daniel Watkins (TAS) following in fourth and winning the U23 category with a clean run and just +0.95secs behind the winner. Tim Anderson (VIC) and Benjamin Pope (WA) completed the Australian line-up in the final and finished ninth and tenth respectively.
Selections for the 2018 Australian Canoe Slalom National Team will continue at the Australian Open to take place at Penrith Whitewater Stadium 16-18 February 2018.
Women’s C1: Jessica Fox (Australia) 109.42, Luuka Jones (New Zealand) 112.13 2, Rosalyn Lawrence (Australia) 116.39 3, Noemie Fox (Australia) 120.17 4, Sage Donnelly (United States) 123.95 5, Kelly Travers (New Zealand) 131.99 6, Kate Eeckhardt (Australia) 135.27 7, Alison Borrows (Australia) 142.93 8, Claire Jacquet (France) 164.15 9, Martina Wegman (Netherlands) 261.18 10.
Men’s K1: Lucien Delfour (Australia) 88.89 1, Michal Smolen (United States) 88.93 2, Mathieu Biazizzo (France) 89.32 3, Daniel Watkins (Australia) 89.84 4, Ondrej Tunka (Czech Republic) 90.08 5, Titouan Dupras (France) 93.26 6, Jack Dangen (New Zealand) 93.67 7, Yves Prigent (France) 94.60 8, Timothy Anderson (Australia) 94.92 9, Benjamin Pope (Australia) 96.64 10.
For more info & all results see: http://www.slalomnz.org.nz/events-1/oceania-champs