Olympic gold medalist Jessica Fox and dual Olympian Lucien Delfour have been crowned champions in the kayak finals at the 2022 Canoe Slalom Australian Open at Penrith Whitewater Stadium today.
This is the second win in 2022 for the duo, having taken out the kayak finals at the recent 2022 ICF Oceania Canoe Slalom Championships.
With national team selection on the line, Fox and Delfour were eager to impress, and both strung together a strong final run to finish in first place.
Fox said she enjoyed paddling a more challenging course today in both the semi and the final.
“It was a very challenging course, compared to yesterday [heats]…. very physical,” Fox said.
“It was about 10 seconds slower than yesterday, and I definitely felt it in the arms.
“But alas, I’m happy with the win,” she said.
Fox will also paddle in tomorrow’s canoe semis, with her eyes firmly focused on another gold medal
“It gives me confidence, because I know that when I get into the C1 I know I’ve already paddled the course, and where the gates are, so it’s always a bit easier in a way to set up for the C1,” Fox said.
“It’s always good to get some runs on the board, and I really enjoyed it out there today,” she said.
With international athletes not competing this year, Fox said she looks forward to welcoming them back hopefully next year.
“The thing I’m most looking forward to though is welcoming the international athletes back again,” Fox said.
“It changes the racing dynamic, and makes us lift a lot more – at least that’s how I feel.
“I’m really looking forward to next year,” she said.
Delfour also enjoyed the challenge of a more demanding course, and was relieved to have been able to put together a good run for the final.
“I can’t remember the last time we had a course that challenging – not necessarily that the moves were hard, but it was a combination of all of them put together,” Delfour said.
“There were only a couple of sections where you could cruise through, but otherwise in every single gate you had to maintain a fair amount of control, and that’s quite draining.
“I was really happy to have improved from the heats to the semis, and then again from the semis to the final – because that’s what you always want to do,” he said.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, Delfour was excited to get back to racing Extreme Canoe Slalom, a discipline that he hasn’t really raced much.
“I only started racing Extreme last year in Pau (France) after the Olympic Games,” Delfour said.
“It’s quite different, the craft is much heavier and shorter, so it’s very physically demanding. And they also steer differently, so it’s good to get some experience in those boats.
“I think we’re also quite lucky to have a ramp here in Penrith, and a proper set up – definitely a huge positive for us,” he said.
Racing will return to Penrith Whitewater Stadium tomorrow, with the men’s and women’s canoe semis and final, and Extreme Canoe Slalom