Australia enjoyed a strong day of competition at the 2018 ICF U23 and Junior World Championships in Ivrea (17 – 22 July), although there were plenty of nervous moments.
While Daniel Watkins (TAS), Brodie Crawford (WA), Angus Thompson (NSW), Kate Eckhardt (TAS) and Demelza Wall (WA) all made their way into this weekend’s U23 semi-final action, Noemie Fox (NSW) had to rely on her final run of the day to salvage what was shaping as wipeout.
Watkins and Eckhardt led the way for the Paddle Australia team, with the pair qualifying for both K1 and C1 semis this weekend.
Tasmania’s Eckhardt got through to the next round of the C1 on her first run, but needed two runs to get into the K1 semis.
“It’s quite a relief,” she said. “Second runs are always nerve-wracking. It kind of feels like a final because only the top ten go through. I knew I was capable of making it through on the first run, but as you can see, mistakes do happen.”
Watkins needed two runs to qualify for the C1, but had a solid first race in the K1 to go straight through.
“I’m happy to finish it off with a first run through,” he said. “It’s been a long, hot day and I’ve already done two runs, so to do it on the first run in the kayak, I couldn’t be happier with that.”
Noemie Fox almost had a day to forget, but was able to salvage a positive by qualifying for the C1 semi-finals on her second run.
Her first run of the day in the K1 was impressive, but her boat weighed in light and she was disqualified. On her second run she missed a gate and failed to make the final.
Fox then ran into trouble on her first run in the C1, and had to dig deep on her final race of the day to get through.
“It’s been a pretty hard day,” Fox said. “Lots of downs, but I finished with a positive. I’m happy to make the final of the C1 though.
“Lots of learning curves and staying positive. I’ve got an extra rest day now.”
One of the most excited members of the Australian team was C1 paddler Demelza Wall, who qualified for the weekend’s semi-final on her second run. Ivrea is her second World Championships.
“I’m really excited, because my first run was nerve-wracking, it was really solid except for one brain lapse,” Wall said.
“But I felt really positive between runs, and I knew I got come back and do a good second run. It’s really exciting. And I’m really excited to see if I paddle at my best what my best will be.”
Angus Thompson (NSW) also had some nervous moments before progressing on his first run into the K1 semis.
“My run was clean, and I’m happy to get a clean run down in such an important race,” he said.
“There were some points that I wasn’t too happy with, but overall it was a solid run and for the most part I kept my focus.
“I always find the heats the most nerve-wracking, because you’ve got the most to lose.”
Brodie Crawford showed glimpses of his best form with a solid first run in the men’s U23 C1, progressing straight into the semis.
“To be honest I didn’t feel that good out there,” Crawford said. “I was a little bit on edge from the start, I didn’t really settle in the start gate, so I was just sort of battling it all the way down, just trying to stay in it.
“I’m ready for something big. It’s been a long time coming. I want to get into that final and really go for it.”
In other results, Steven Lowther (WA) fell just short of qualifying for the C1 semis after finishing 15th on his second run.
Racing continues today with the Junior qualifying. U23 C1M and K1M semi finals and finals are scheduled for Saturday, 21 July, with the U23 K1M and C1W following on Sunday.
Race Programme, Thursday, July 19, Junior heats
08:30 (16:30 AEST) C1M – K1W 1st run
10:30 (18:30 AEST) C1M – K1W 2nd run
13.30 (21:30 AEST) C1W – K1M 1st run
15.40 (23:40 AEST) C1W – K1M 2nd run
See event webpage for more info: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-slalom-world-championships/ivrea-2018
Live stream: www.canoeicf.com
See Canoe Slalom Team Athlete Profiles here: https://paddle.org.au/canoe-slalom-athlete-profiles/