Australia’s Jessica Fox won her sixth individual canoe slalom title, successfully defended her 2017 K1 world crown, and became the most successful individual paddler in the history of the sport on the penultimate day of the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Rio.
Fox had qualified sixth fastest for the K1 final, and watched on as the top five qualifiers all failed to top her 102.06 – a time more than two seconds quicker than the next best athlete.
Four of the six world titles Fox has won across both K1 and C1, she has won by four seconds or more, reflecting the domination by 24-year old Fox in a sport where medallists can be decided by tenths of a second.
Her six individual world titles kicks her clear of a crowded leaderboard, which included father Richard with five individual titles for Great Britain. Jessica Fox has the obvious advantage of racing both K1 and C1, and has won three of each.
She said her win was some compensation for the disappointment of finishing third at the Rio Olympics.
“I’m quite emotional and shocked,” Fox said.
“I had a great run until I got to the bottom section and than it almost fell apart. I’m just so happy I was able to hold it together and escape what could have been a terrible mistake. It was a fight to the finish and I’m just thrilled to back that up and to win another world title today. It’s amazing.
On Saturday she not only defended that world title, but exorcised any remaining demons from her Rio Olympics.
“Last year my Pau race (World Championships 2017) was one of my best races ever, it is probably hard to top that,” she said.
“I think with Rio, I had a bit of unfinished business after the Olympics. I left a bit frustrated with my paddling.
“I just wanted to come here and be free, and really unleash in that final, and I think I did that. So I couldn’t be happier. I’m loving this sport, I’m enjoying myself, and I think that’s the most important thing – to love what you do.
“These world titles have all been so special, and today is extra special. I had a great season at the World Cups and this is just the icing on the cake. I’m so happy and so proud to put that run down today.”
Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin took the silver in 104.34, and Germany’s Ricarda Funk, with a two-second penalty, was third in 105.32.
The 2018 K1 World Championship title is the sixth individual World title for the dual Olympic medallist in the K1 and the third K1 World title.
The Australia won all five World Cups over the 2018 European summer in the C1 and made further history by becoming the first athlete to win both the K1 and C1 World Cup titles. But it is not about statistics for Jess.
“I can’t say I look at the statistics, I’m just here to do what I can do. I hope six world titles is not the end of my journey, I’m feeling like I’m at my best and hopefully can keep going that way.”
On Sunday Fox has a big chance to bring up another World Championship double, when she competes in the final of the women’s C1. She’s unbeaten in the discipline this year, and the tough Rio course is likely to bring many of her opponents undone.
This would give her seven individual world titles, and eight titles overall when you add team golds. That takes her past her mother, Myriam Fox-Jerusalmi, as the most successful female athlete of all time. Myriam won eight gold medals for France across both individual and team competitions, a feat so far unmatched in history
Fox qualified second fastest for Sunday’s C1 final, while Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) was sixth quickest.
“I had a very solid run, which I thought on this very tough course was going to be enough,” Lawrence said.
“But all season, solid hasn’t been good enough. So I wasn’t really sure how all the other girls were going to go, and the field is increasingly good. It was a little bit of a nervous wait.
“It’ll be good to be fresh for tomorrow. It will be fun.”
Noemie Fox finished in 15th and will miss the final.
In the men’s K1, Rio 2016 Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) and Daniel Watkins (TAS) will both miss Sunday’s K1 final after a tight-run semi-final on Saturday afternoon.
Delfour picked up a late gate touch which dropped him back to 12th, while Watkins also picked up a gate touch to finish 28th.
It was the first World Championships doubling up in two classes for the 22-year old Tasmanian and his first semi-finals in both the K1 and C1 at a Senior World Championship. Already on Friday, Watkins finished 22nd in the men’s C1.
“This was my first World Championships doubling up which was pretty challenging to race every day over the last five days in the heat. But overall it’s been really fun and rewarding. It’s been my best World Championships I’ve had in both classes which has been a positive, Watkins said.
And with Tokyo 2020 in mind he added, “I think this has been a great stepping stone for me. It’s not been the best races I’ve had but still the best results I’ve had at a World Championships.
“I’ve learnt a lot this season and even if it didn’t come to a pointy end at the World Champs, reflecting on the season I think I’ve learnt a lot and I’m really looking forward to the next two years.
Racing continues in Rio today with the women’s C1 and men’s K1 and the extreme slalom events.
- FOX Jessica (AUS) 102.06 (0)
- FRANKLIN Mallory (GBR) 104.34 (0)
- FUNK Ricarda (GER) 105.32 (2)
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Women’s C1 Final
Start 10:03 (23:03 AEST)
- Rosalyn Lawrence: 23:15 AEST
- Jessica Fox: 23:29 AEST
EXTREME CANOE SLALOM – 1/8 1/4, 1/2,finals
|13:30:00||K1W CSLX 1/8 Final|
|14:11:00||K1M CSLX 1/8 Final|
|15:33:00||K1W CSLX – 1/4 Final|
|15:51:00||K1M CSLX – 1/4 Final|
|16:09:00||K1W CSLX – 1/2 Final|
|16:18:00||K1M CSLX – 1/2 Final|
|16:28:00||K1W CSLX – Final|
|16:33:30||K1M CSLX – Final|