Smashing Opening Day At Canoe Slalom World Cup One

Australian Canoe Slalom Paddlers Advance Through To Next Round Of Racing

It was a smashing day one at the opening ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup of the 2019 season with all but one of Australia’s slalom paddlers advancing through to the next round of racing at the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre in London on Friday.

Paddle Australia’s double world champion Jessica Foxhad a smashing day in more than one sense, providing some anxious moments when she smashed into a bollard during K1 qualifying in the morning, but still managed to qualify as 14thfastest.

Photo Credit Kim Jones PhotographyJessica Fox – Photo Kim Jones Photography

Fox also smashed it in the women’s C1, this time by picking up from where she left off after her record-breaking 2018 season and whizzing down the Lee Valley course where she won Olympic silver as a teenager in 2012 in 102.09 to qualify fastest in the C1.

Fox was more than five seconds quicker than Brazil’s Ana Satila, with France’s Lucie Baudu third fastest in 109.69.

The K1 was a bit of a rocky start or I should say ‘a rocky finish’ because I hit the bollards at the end and apparently, I eve  left a little hole in the blocks. It wasn’t great but it was enough to qualify in 14thand that was all I needed in the K1 today,” Fox laughed.

“The C1 on the other hand felt really nice the whole way down, it flowed well, I was on the right lines and I think that’s when you can find easy speed, so I was really happy with that run.”

The ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 1 marks the start to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifying season with the first Olympic quota spots to be decided at the 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships at the end of September. And with several teams using this weekend as part of their Tokyo 2020 qualifiers, the increasing tension could be felt on the 2012 Olympic course.

“The first World Cup is always a little bit tense. It’s the first one of the season, everyone is excited and nervous to race and get back out there and see where you stand after the break,” Fox explained.

“For us this is part of Olympic selection and for a lot of the teams as well so there is a little bit more of the heightened atmosphere. But we’ll probably feel that more in the semis and finals. I don’t know how other selection processes work, but it should be exciting for a lot of the countries and it will start the process for 2020.”

Jessica Fox will be joined in both the women’s K1 and women’s C1 semi-finals by sister Noemie Fox (NSW) and Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) after all of Australia’s female paddlers made the most of the first day of racing and progressed through to the semi-finals in both events.

In the women’s K1, Noemie Fox and Ros Lawrence used the second run to qualify for Saturday’s semi-final.

Ros Lawrence - Photo Bence Vekassy
 Ros Lawrence – Photo Bence Vekassy

“I had a couple of mistakes in the first run of the K1 this morning, but the second run was solid and it felt good on the water with a clean run and making it through to tomorrow’s (Saturday’s) semi,” Ros Lawrence said.

“It’s a big, fun course here, so I will have fun and feel the flow on the water. We have a great team atmosphere and good support and I think everyone is pretty happy and paddling well.”

In the women’s C1, Noemie Fox followed her sister to go straight through to the final after finishing eighth in the heat, while Ros Lawrence used the second run to join the Fox sisters in Sunday’s C1 semi-final.

Noemie Fox - Photo Kim Jones PhotographyNoemie Fox – Photo Kim Jones Photography 

In the men’s events, Tasmanian Daniel Watkins is also doubling up in both the men’s C1 and K1 events and on Friday he qualified for both semi-finals.

In the men’s C1, Watkins and team mate Ian Borrows (NSW) needed the second run to progress through to Saturday’s semi-final, with Ian Borrows making the most of another racing opportunity.

“The first race of the season is never that easy and the first run at the first World Cup is always a bit hard and I really enjoyed getting the first run in and then getting a bit of pressure in the second where I really needed to perform. Everyone is paddling really well at the moment and coming into worlds at the end of the year will be really interesting,” Borrows said about the growing pressure on the course.

“I managed to lay down a solid run in the second run, clean and all the lines I wanted to do so I was pretty happy and there’s still a bit more time to work on it so I’m looking forward to the semi,” the Rio Olympian added.

Ian Borrows - Photo Bence Vekassy

Ian Borrows – Photo Bence Vekassy

U23 paddler Steven Lowther (WA), who is on his first Senior World Cup team, missed out on the semi-final after finishing 41stand 27thin the first and second run respectively.

In the men’s K1, all three Australian paddlers went straight through to Sunday’s semi-finals with Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) the fastest Australian finishing fifth in the heat. Tim Anderson (NSW) followed in a strong 14thplace, while Daniel Watkins finished 23rdto also qualify for Sunday’s semi-final.

“Looks like we are off to a really good start in the K1 team. It’s great that we all got through on the first run, which I think is a pretty good effort. And all of us probably could have gone a little bit quicker as well so that’s good and we will all be looking for that final on Sunday,” Tim Anderson said.

“The local guys here are really fast and they turned it on today, so it was really good to go straight through on the first runs. It’s already a good start to the world cup season to be able to have a shot at the final so I’m pretty excited,” Anderson added about the fast heat that was won by Rio 2016 Olympic champion Joseph Clarke and with three British kayakers in the top five.

Lucien Delfour - Photo Bence Vekassy

Lucien Delfour – Photo Bence Vekassy

The opening ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup continues on Saturday with semi-finals and finals in the men’s C1 and the women’s K1, and finals in extreme slalom.

The women’s C1 and men’s K1 semi-finals and finals are scheduled for Sunday.

Racing can be followed live on canoeicf.com

Follow results HERE.

Dan Watkins - Photo Bence Vekassy

Dan Watkins – Photo Bence Vekassy

Lee Valley is the first of four World Cups, followed by a World Cup final. The circuit continues in Bratislava, Slovakia and Ljubljana, Slovenia the following weekends.

All of the finals from the World Cup series and World Championships will also be available on the Olympic Channel

2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup 1 – Team
C1M: Daniel Watkins (TAS), Ian Borrows (NSW), Steven Lowther (WA)
K1M: Lucien Delfour (NSW), Daniel Watkins (TAS), Tim Anderson(NSW)
K1W: Jessica Fox (NSW), Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW), Noemie Fox(NSW)
C1W: Jessica Fox, Noemie Fox, Rosalyn Lawrence

2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup Season 
– World Cup 1: Lee Valley, UK, June 14-16 June.
– World Cup 2: Bratislava, Slovakia, June 21-23.
– World Cup 3: Tacen, Slovenia, June 28-20.
– World Cup 4: Markkleeberg, Germany, 30 August-1 September.
– World Cup final: Prague, Czech Republic, 6-8 September.

– ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, La Seu, Spain, 25-29 September 2019
– Tokyo 2020 Canoe Slalom Olympic Test Event, Tokyo, Japan, 25-27 October 2019

See the 2019 Paddle Australian Canoe Slalom World Cup Team Profiles here: https://paddle.org.au/canoe-slalom-athlete-profiles/