Jessica Fox has secured Australia the first canoe slalom quota spot for next year’s Olympic Games after locking in a place in the semi-final of the women’s K1 for Australia on the opening day of individual competition at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in La Seu, Spain.
Rio Olympians Jessica Fox (NSW) and Ian Borrows (NSW) showed their experience in La Seu on Thursday with both paddlers going straight through to the next round of racing following a fourth and fifth place in the women’s K1 and men’s C1 heats respectively.
U23 paddler Tristan Carter (VIC) will complete the Australian line-up in Saturday’s first round of semi-finals after qualifying for his first ever World Championships semi-final in the men’s C1.
In the race for Olympic quotas to be decided at the 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships, eighteen different countries, including Australia as well as 2020 Olympic host nation Japan, will contest the women’s K1 semi-final on Saturday.
Under ICF rules, the top eighteen countries, excluding Japan, will earn Olympic tickets and with Australia amongst these eighteen, the first quota spot is locked away ahead of racing on Saturday. Japan automatically qualifies.
In the men’s C1, where the top eleven countries will all earn quotas, there are 16 different nations represented in the semi-finals, leaving the fight for quotas open until Saturday’s semi-finals.
A fourth place in the heat of the women’s K1 was enough for Australia’s paddling star and most successful female paddler of all time Jessica Fox to qualify for Saturday’s semi-final.
Jessica Fox – Photo Kylie Wilson
“The goal for today was to qualify into the semi and put down a smooth and flowing run, so I’m happy with that. I made a little mistake but I really pulled hard to the finish so I think I ended up in fourth which is good enough for today and now I can focus on the C1 (heats on Friday).”
Fox pulled out a strong K1 run, following her gold medal win in the women’s C1 team event together with sister Noemie Fox and team mate Rosalyn Lawrence the day before.
“Yesterday was so nice. It was such a great moment to share with Noemie and with Ros and to hear the anthem to start the week was lovely. We had a great time on the water in that C1 run. It’s always nice to start like that,” Fox said about the extra energy she took from the team events.
“The course changes from the teams to the heats and then again from the heats to the semis so even though we got a paddle yesterday it wasn’t a practice for today. We had to refocus, watch the demos and recover for today,” Fox described the challenges.
The refocus did not go to plan for Rosalyn Lawrence and Noemie Fox who missed out of the semi-finals qualification. Lawrence finished 48th in the first run with three touches and just missed out of the top ten progression with a tight 13th place in the second run of the heats.
Noemie Fox had one touch and posted a 29th in the first run and added a 28th (3 touches) in the second run.
Fellow Rio Olympian Ian Borrows kicked-off the first day of the individual events in La Seu with an impressive fast and clean run that saw him finish in fifth place in the men’s C1 heats.
Ian Borrows, Photo Bence Vekassy
“I’m really happy with my first run in the C1. I managed to make it through to the semis in the first run and held it together the whole way down,” Borrows said after the race.
“I was pretty much on exactly what I was aiming on doing and I was on line everywhere. It was clean which is always a bonus here in La Seu and I’m really happy to make it through to the semi-finals.”
Borrows had an up and down world cup season but delivered on the first day of individual events at the world championships when it counted.
“I haven’t had a really good start to the second half of the season and I just wanted to put something back on the board and show mostly myself that all the training I have been doing has been leading to something and I managed to pull it all together today. I have been training like this and I was really happy to be able to put it together in a race run,” Borrows reflected.
“Racing out there is so tight at the moment. There are two or three seconds in between the top ten guys and I’m just super stoked for me to be in the top 20,” Borrows added about the calibre of the field.
Tristan Carter followed suit and secured Australia another spot in the semi-final with a sixth place in the second run of the heats and making his first ever World Championship semi-final in the process.
Tristan Carter, Photo Kylie Wilson
“Seeing how tight it was in the first runs, I knew I had to get my boogie on in the second run, so I just dropped everything in my mind and went with what I knew best, went for a paddle and it turned out alright and I’m so happy right now,” an excited Tristan Carter said after the race.
“I made my first semi in a world cup this year, at the last world cup I did in Leipzig (World Cup 4, Markkleeberg, Germany). And this is just my second semi-final ever and I’m super happy to be there. I know I can do it, I’m just trying to figure out how to do it, how to get there. I feel like I’m slowly stepping up to figuring out how it works so I’m pretty happy.”
Tasmanian Daniel Watkins did not progress through to the next round in the men’s C1 following a 56th place in the first run with four gate touches and a 21st place in the second run.
Doubling up in both the men’s C1 and K1 events, Watkins will have another chance in the men’s kayak heats on Friday.
Racing at the world championships continues on Friday with the heats in the women’s C1 and men’s K1 events.
The men’s C1 and women’s K1 semi-finals and finals are scheduled for Saturday, before the world championships wrap on Sunday with the women’s C1 and men’s semi-finals and finals.
This weekend also sees the ICF Wildwater World Championships contested in La Seu.
35 countries compete in wildwater with Australia represented in La Seu with four paddlers, who contested the heats in the individual events on Thursday, but did not progress through to the next round of racing.
The men’s C2 heats will be raced on Friday with Victorian brothers Kaylen and Lachlan Bassett representing Australia.
About the 2019 ICF Canoe Slalom and Wildwater World Championships
The biggest field of athletes in more than 15 years are taking to the waters of La Seu in Spain this week, with the double goal of becoming 2019 ICF canoe slalom world champion, and also earning their country a place at next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
450 athletes from 63 countries are competing in La Seu. The top 18 countries in both men’s and women’s K1, and the top 11 countries in men’s and women’s C1, will qualify a place at Tokyo 2020.
No country will be allowed to qualify more than one athlete per event for Tokyo, meaning in some disciplines athletes who finish outside the top 20 could still earn their country a ticket to the 2020 Olympics.
Every world champion from 2018 is back to defend their title in La Seu, including Australia’s Jessica Fox, who last year won the K1/C1 world title double for a second time.
Jessica Fox won her tenth world title on Wednesday when she took out gold in the women’s C1 team event together with sister Noemie Fox and Rosalyn Lawrence. The most successful individual paddler of all time now holds four C1, three K1 aswell as three C1 team world titles to her name.
Follow racing live here: www.canoeicf.com
Race Schedule, Friday, 27 September 2019 (local and AEST times)
Women’s C1 – Heats
09:58:00 (17:58) Rosalyn Lawrence
10:00:00 (18:00) Noemie Fox
10:10:00 (18:10) Jessica Fox
Men’s M1 – Heats
11:42 (19:42:00) Tim Anderson
11:59:00 (19:50:00) Daniel Watkins
12:07:00 (20:07:00) Lucien Delfour
Race Schedule, Saturday, 28 September 2019
Women’s K1 – Semi-finals
11:00:00 (19:00:00) Jessica Fox
Men’s C1 – Semi-finals
09:53:00 (17:53:00) Ian Borrows
AUS Final Results
Women’s C1 Team
1 AUS 0.00
2 ESP 121.72 +3.75
3 CZE 124.48 +6.51
Team Events – Wednesday, 25th September 2019
3X WC1 – Jessica Fox, Rosalyn Lawrence, Noemie Fox: 1st
3x WK1 – Jessica Fox, Rosalyn Lawrence, Noemie Fox: 16th
3 X MC1 – Tristan Carter, Daniel Watkins, Ian Borrows: 11th
3 X MK1 – Tim Anderson, Lucien Delfourn, Daniel Watkins: 8th
Team Australia Canoe Slalom
Women’s K1 & C1
Jessica Fox (NSW)
Noemie Fox (NSW)
Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW)
Daniel Watkins (TAS)
Lucien Delfour (NSW)
Tim Anderson (NSW)
Daniel Watkins (TAS)
Ian Borrows (NSW)
Tristan Carter (VIC)
See athlete profiles here: https://paddle.org.au/canoe-slalom-athlete-profiles/