Mark Crosbee was crowned the World Junior C1 champion overnight at the 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom Junior / U23 World Championships in Ivrea, Italy.
The 18-year-old, who also happens to be the cousin of Olympic Champion and multiple Canoe Slalom World Championships medallist Jessica Fox, qualified in 24th place for Friday’s semi-final.
He moved up to 8th for the 10-paddler final, before the run of his life without any gate touches saw the Melburnian secure the gold, 0.35 seconds ahead of Michal Urban from Czech Republic in second and Urban’s teammate Lukas Kratochvil in third (+0.74).
“It was a good run, it started off well, I had a really good top section,” Crosbee said.
“I fixed some mistakes from the semi final and then held it together in the middle section, it wasn’t anything special but all I needed to do.
“I lost a little bit of time on the bottom section but kept attacking on the exits.”
Having been the third paddler off the start line and watching seven other paddlers come down after him trying to better his time, Crosbee said he was holding his breath for the final outcome.
“I felt like I had done enough to make the podium, as it was a solid run on a tough course but it was a surprise to win,” he said.
“It was pretty stressful watching everyone coming down having some pretty good runs and then people made mistakes on the bottom section.
“To win the gold feels really special, after all the work we’ve put in coming back from a rib stress fracture last year, and training through COVID, it’s all paid off and feels amazing.”
Paddle Australia’s National Performance Director, Kim Crane, congratulated Mark on his World Championships success.
“We’re all just so happy for Mark,” Crane said. “He is such a talented athlete who works incredibly hard at his craft, so for him to get this result is very special.
“This performance is truly remarkable when you consider the challenges Mark and the team faced leading into this event with limited access to whitewater here in Australia due to the floods. It’s a strong testament to Marks self belief and resilience.
“There is always a team and a pathway journey behind every world class performance. I’m particularly thrilled here for Mark’s personal coach (and father) Dave Crosbee, Mark’s family, the Victorian Institute of Sport, and also his Paddle Australia Junior Coach, Titouan Dupras.
“The future is bright for Mark. Paddle Australia and the wider Canoe Slalom community sincerely congratulate him and hope he finds time to stop, reflect and celebrate this amazing success.”
Australia had three athletes in the Men’s Junior C1 finals, with Dominic Curtain placing 20th and George Pankhurst 27th.
The Junior/U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships continue in Italy over the weekend, with Australia’s Lachlan Basset fighting for medals in the U23 C1 finals tonight, and the Extreme Slalom events on Sunday. See more HERE