Wild winds and lashing rain provided a challenging race day for Australia’s C1 athletes at the 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in London on Wednesday.
With gates swinging unpredictably from gusts over 60km/hr, all five Aussies struggled during Heat 1 of racing, and were relegated to Heat 2 in the afternoon.
After finishing uncharacteristically 33rd in Heat 1, C1 Olympic Jessica Fox booked her ticket to the Women’s C1 semifinals with the second fastest time in Heat 2.
After some of the most challenging conditions she can remember, Fox said she was relieved to get the job done.
“Those conditions were probably the worst I’ve ever competed in, with the wind and the rain,” she said. “The gates were moving every time there was a gust of wind, so it’s so much harder to judge and there’s so much more luck that comes into it.
“Especially for my first run, the wind picked up for us last two girls, so we were really battling out there. For me on my first run I was just hesitant because of it and then made a mistake in the middle.
“It was really stressful and nerve-wracking to have to prepare for a second run.
“Obviously I always want to just get it done on the first run so I can recover, and the added element of wind and the weather just made it more stressful. So I am so pleased that I got it done and that I’m through,” she said.
Fox’s teammate Eckhardt, who won Kayak Teams gold alongside Jess and Noemie Fox on Day 1, finished 15th in Heat 2, to place 35th overall in the Women’s C1
In the men’s C1 competition, Tristan Carter was the top placed Aussie finishing in 38th. Brodie Crawford was close behind in 40th and Kaylen Bassett placed 49th.
The World Championships continue on Thursday with the K1 heats, before C1 finals on Friday, K1 finals on Saturday and Kayak Cross on Sunday.