Flying Fox Quickest in C1 Qualifiers at Slalom World Titles

Australia’s women’s canoe slalom paddlers continue to impress with the recently crowned team world champion trio of Jessica Fox, Noemie Fox and Rosalyn Lawrence all progressing through to the next round of racing in the women’s C1 in La Seu, Spain, on Friday. 

Tim Anderson and Lucien Delfour also qualified for the semi-finals in the men’s K1 on day three of the ICF canoe slalom world championships. It will be the first ever world championships semi-final for Anderson. 

Australia’s four-time C1 world champion Jessica Fox (NSW) turned on a masterclass of canoe slalom paddling to qualify quickest for this weekend’s world championship semi-finals winning the heat of the women’s C1 in a time of 105.87 and 1.9 seconds ahead of Great Britain’s Malory Franklin. 24 hours earlier the two-time Olympian and defending world champion in both the women’s K1 and C1 also locked away a quota for Australia in the K1.

“The goal isn’t always necessarily to win but it’s a nice position to be in going into the semi-final. You get a bit more time to watch, to analyse, but the goal was just to qualify today and to put down a smooth, tidy run in the C1. It felt really good, so I’m happy with that,” Fox said.

The C1 will be the second world championship semi-final for Fox who already qualified for the women’s K1 semis on Thursday. Progressing through to the K1 semi-final, Fox also secured Australia the first canoe slalom country quota spot at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It is really important to qualify the quota spot for Australia and I actually thought that it would happen in the semi-finals and not on the qualifications day. So, to have that locked away is a great relief for us.

“Now we just have to do that for the C1 on Sunday as well, because there’s a lot more countries at play in that semi-final,” Fox said about securing the Olympic quotas at La Seu.

Under ICF rules, the top eighteen countries in the K1 events, excluding Japan, will earn Olympic tickets and with Australia amongst the eighteen that qualified for the women’s K1 semi-final, the first quota spot was locked away ahead of racing on Saturday. Japan (also in the semi-final) automatically qualifies.

In the men’s and women’s C1 the top 11 countries will all earn quotas.

Jessica Fox – Photo Bence Vekassy

“Securing the quotas is all part of it, it’s in the back of our minds, but I guess the focus is still on the process and going through each phase of the competition,” Fox explained.

While Fox was the only Australian to make it through to Saturday’s K1 semi-final, she will be joined by sister Noemie Fox and Rosalyn Lawrence in the women’s C1 semi-final on Sunday. Noemie Fox qualified with an eleventh place in the heat, while Rosalyn Lawrence finished 17th.

“I’m really happy that Ros and Noemie qualified on the first run. It was quite a tight qualification for the semi. We had a field of over 70 C1 women on the start line and it’s amazing how much the class has grown,” Fox said about the event that will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.

“I was here in 2009, ten years ago when it was just a demonstration event. Now it’s an Olympic event so the girls have just really committed to it and their countries too to support them and I think the level is just getting better and better,” Fox added about the rising competition level in the C1.

Rosalyn Lawrence (NSW) was one of the pioneers in the class, winning a silver medal at the world championships in 2009 when it started as a demonstration event – also in La Seu. She shares Fox’s excitement about the event.

“It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been there right from the start racing at world cups but with 70 paddlers on the water here in La Seu it’s super exciting. And we saw in the quals that the top five girls were super tight, which just shows how much the class has progressed and everyone is still getting faster and more competitive,” Lawrence said.

The rising level is also the challenge and Lawrence knows she will have to put in a clean, fast run on Sunday to progress to the final.

“I just want to have a clean, solid run and make it through to the final, that’s the goal. But as I said the competition is pretty tough and I will have to do a good run to get through,” Lawrence said.

It will be the same for Noemie Fox (NSW) who also acknowledged the high-calibre field in the C1.

“I was a bit nervous today. It’s a massive event and there are so many good people in the field now,” Noemie Fox said.

“La Seu is a very technical course and there’s not much room for error but I delivered. I have a rest day tomorrow, but I’ll have a lot of studying to do watching the C1 men from different angles which is really helpful. I’m looking forward to the semi-finals, I just want to go out there and give it my best shot.”

In the men’s K1 events, Tim Anderson (NSW) celebrated his first ever world championship semi-final after progressing through to the next round with a 21st place in the heat.

“I’m really pleased with my run. It was solid, I didn’t do anything special, nothing went off line so I kept paddling and got to the bottom and was pretty happy,” Anderson said about his run, which gave him a lot of confidence going into the semi-final.

“I feel there was still a lot of improving I could have done on that run, so to still be up there gives me a lot of confidence. I’m sure the course for the semis will even be more challenging than the heats course which in itself was pretty challenging, but I’m looking forward to that and I think I can go up one level,” Anderson said.

Rio Olympian Lucien Delfour (NSW) also qualified for the semi-final after a 24th place in the heat.

With five Australian semi-final spots secured on Friday, it was only Tasmanian Daniel Watkins, who did not progress. After an equally disappointing day in the men’s C1 on Thursday, Watkins finished his world championships much sooner than expected.

“I’m very disappointed with the world championships this year. I always set myself really high goals and qualifications is just a simple first step to those goals. I have been pretty consistently qualifying to the semi-finals in the World Cups so I’m very disappointed to not be in the semi-finals this race,” Watkins said.

“Seu is a course I’ve trained on a lot and have learnt to love over the last 18 months and I felt I had a great opportunity at this race with how I felt in training. I would have loved to pull my weight and push hard for the Olympic quotas and beyond but I’m happy to see the other Australians have raced to their potential so far and am confident they can secure the spots,” Watkins added.

And about the goals ahead he added, “There are some clear things to work on before the domestic season and selections in three month and plenty of things to be discussed. But I guess you learn the most when your making mistakes and I hope I can make astron steps forward from this race.”

Daniel Watkins - Photo Bence Vekassy

Daniel Watkins – Photo Bence Vekassy

Racing continues on Saturday for the penultimate day of the world championships with the first two world titles (men’s C1 and women’s K1) and another quota spot (men’s C1) up for grabs.

Tristan Carter
(VIC) and Rio Olympian Ian Borrows (NSW) will be up first in the semi-finals of the men’s C1 from 9 a.m. local time, while Jessica Fox will race the women’s K1 semi-final at 11:00 a.m.

In the men’s C1, 16 different nations are represented in the semi-finals with eleven quota spots available.
 
This weekend also sees the ICF Wildwater World Championships contested in La Seu with Australia’s wildwater paddlers progressing through to Saturday’s finals in the women’s C2 (Madison Wilson, VIC / Genie Collin, WA) and men’s C2 (Kaylen and Lachlan Bassett, VIC). 
 
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 events together with sister Noemie Fox and Rosalyn Lawrence.  

The most successful individual paddler of all time now holds four C1, three K1 as well as three C1 team world titles to her name. 
 
Follow racing live here: www.canoeicf.com
 
Follow results here: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-slalom-world-championships/la-seu-d-urgell-2019/results
 
Race Schedule, Saturday, 28 September 2019
Men’s C1 – Semi-finals
09:11:00 (17:11:00) Tristan Carter
09:53:00 (17:53:00) Ian Borrows
 
Women’s K1 – Semi-finals
11:00:00 (19:00:00) Jessica Fox

MC1 final from 12:03
WK1 final from 12:40
 
Race Schedule, Sunday, 29 September 2019
Women’s C1 – Semi-final
09:05:30 – Ros Lawrence
09:20:00 – Noemie Fox
09:45:30 – Jessica Fox
 
Men’s K1 – Semi-final
10:25:00 – Lucien Delfour
10:31:00 – Tim Anderson

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)
 
Men’s K1
Daniel Watkins (TAS)
Lucien Delfour (NSW)
Tim Anderson (NSW)
 
Men’s C1
Daniel Watkins (TAS)
Ian Borrows (NSW) 
Tristan Carter (VIC)