Australia’s women canoeists have once again shown their strength after securing all three semi-final spots at the 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships qualifying in the canoe events in Augsburg, Germany on Friday (29 July 2022).
On the second day of qualifying, Fox sisters Jessica and Noemie made it two out of two, adding a semi-final spot in the women’s canoe to their qualification in the kayak, which they already secured on Thursday. Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt also progressed through to the next round of racing in the C1 and to her first ever women’s canoe world championships semi-final.
Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Jess Fox’s historic gold-medal win in the women’s canoe at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, when the four-time C1 world champion became the first ever Olympic champion in the event that made its Olympic debut in Tokyo.
“I can’t believe it’s been one year but what better way to celebrate than to be paddling and to be at a world championship that has such a great atmosphere,” Fox said after her heat and racing in front of a crowd of 5000 spectators.
“I woke up to some nice ‘happy anniversary’ messages and I saw the photo memories and it’s always really special to relive that moment.”
In Friday’s heats, a sixth place and a time of 108.06 (+4.72), including a two-second penalty for a gate touch, was enough for the 28-year-old to go straight through to Sunday’s C1 semi-finals.
“It was a bit of a sketchy start, I hit the wall and got stuck on gate two to three and so I had to do a bit of a Plan B option there and lost a bit of time. But the rest was good. I held it together and qualified comfortably, so I’m really happy.
“It’s good to get those first runs out of the way, there’s a bit of nervousness and it’s nice to feel good and to be rested for the semis.” Fox explained.
Jess Fox, who is aiming for her fourth Olympic Games at Paris 2024, is contesting a full race program in Augsburg including both the K1 and C1 as well as the new Olympic Extreme Canoe Slalom event.
“It’s quite tough to do the three categories, but the world championships program is more spread out, with the kayak and canoe qualifications on different days, whereas it’s all in one day at a world cup. So, I have had plenty of time to rest, which is good.”
Noemie Fox will also be continuing in three events, after securing her C1 semi-final spot with an eighth place in the second round of heats.
After missing out in the kayak qualifying on Thursday, Kate Eckhardt will be back at the start line for both the canoe and extreme, after progressing straight through to the C1 semi-final with a 19th place in the first round of heats.
“It’s my first time racing the world championships in C1 and I’m really happy to have qualified in the first run. It’s tough out there and I lost time in a few places and I really wasn’t sure I would make it on that run, but I’m really happy to be through.
“I will relax now, have a look at the course tomorrow and see how I will attack it on Sunday,” Eckhard said after qualifying in a time of 113.09 (+9.75), including a two-second penalty.
It is the first-time back on the international circuit for the 24-year-old, who used the Covid-break to complete her master of physiotherapy degree and is crediting the team support for her quick transition back into racing.
“It’s been a really awesome lead up. We’ve got such a great team here with all the staff and everyone is getting along really well. We’ve been having a really good time and also been doing some really good paddling,” Eckhardt said.
“I’m excited to be back on the start line and it’s really awesome to be here. I haven’t been racing over the last couple of years, so it feels a little bit surreal to be back again. But I’ve been really enjoying it and I’m getting more confident and trying to do my best on the water.”
In the men’s canoe event, Paddle Australia’s men canoe slalom team missed out on progressing through to the next round, after Kaylen Bassett, Brodie Crawford and Tristan Carter finished outside of the top-30 following a challenging two rounds of heats and some costly mistakes.
All three have not raced internationally for three years and acknowledged the level of competition they were facing.
“It wasn’t the greatest racing, just some really good sections and some really bad sections unfortunately and a lot of experience and plenty of learnings to take away from this. We will be back next time,” Kaylen Bassett analysed.
“It’s probably one of the deepest fields in the men’s C1, so trying to make a semi-final in itself is quite a challenge. And I think that paired with not only our lack of experience over the past few years, but also with the amount of experience the rest of the field has, the gap is so tight now that I think we need to work harder to claw back,” Bassett added.
Bassett will be back at the start line in the Extreme Canoe Slalom joining the men’s kayak team of Tim Anderson, Lucien Delfour and Ben Pope, who have booked their sport in the men’s kayak semi-finals on Saturday morning, before racing the Extreme Kayak time trials in the evening (local time).
Saturday will see the men’s and women’s K1 semi-finals and finals, and the qualification rounds for the extreme slalom. The canoe semi-finals and finals as well as the Extreme Canoe Slalom event will wrap up the 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships on Sunday with a sold-out crowd expected for the weekend.
See all the results HERE.
Results Qualifying – 2022 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships
Friday, 29 July 2022
Women’s Canoe Heats Run 1 (WC1)
- Jessica Fox (NSW) 6th 108.06 (2) +4.72
- Kate Eckhardt (TAS) 19th 113.09 (2) +9.75
- Noemie Fox (NSW) 34th 127.02 (6) +23.68
Women’s Canoe Heats Run 2 (WC1)
- Noemie Fox (NSW) 8th 112.90 (2) +5.61
Men’s Canoe Heats Run 1 (MC1)
- Brodie Crawford (WA) 32nd 101.19 (2) +9.26
- Tristan Carter (VIC) 39th 105.16 (6) +13.23
- Kaylen Bassett (NSW)45th 108.43 (2) +16.50
Men’s Canoe Heats Run 2 (MC1)
- Kaylen Bassett (NSW)19th 105.05 (4) +10.15
- Tristan Carter (VIC) 34th 105.65 (50) +57.75
- Brodie Crawford (WA) 37th 154.94 (52) +60.04