The world’s greatest canoe slalom paddler, Jessica Fox, has won her tenth individual Canoe Slalom World title, winning gold in the Women’s K1 at the Lee Valley Whitewater Centre in London on Saturday.
After winning Kayak Teams gold on Tuesday and C1 bronze on Friday, the 29-year-old won her third medal of the 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships on the London Olympic course that saw her win K1 silver back in 2012.
It’s Fox’s 10th individual World title, and fourth K1 World Championships gold, last winning the Kayak crown back in 2018.
After recording the fastest semi final time by over a second on Saturday morning, Fox got a two-second penalty for touching Gate 1 in the 10-paddler final. However, her incredible run saw the four-time Olympic medallist still secure the gold medal, 1.13 seconds ahead of Eliska Mintalova of Slovakia in second, and 1.40 seconds ahead of Poland’s Klaudia Kwolinska in third.
“My goodness, it was a crazy race and I just can’t believe I’ve won today, it’s amazing, I am overwhelmed and so emotional,” Fox said.
“I didn’t start well, I hit Gate 1 and just tried to really put the hammer down and keep it clean and keep it tidy. Even to the last gate, I was taking risks and trying to squeeze out time, just sprinting head down to the finish, not knowing if it would be enough, but to see I was one second ahead, I was thrilled.
“To win a fourth K1 World title and my 10th individual World title, I feel really proud of that.
“This World Championships was really important to get the quota to go to the Olympics and it was also part of our selection process as well. Obviously, the work’s not done yet, but to have qualified the quota and ticked off a few boxes for the criteria, I can start to plan towards Paris.”
Tim Anderson also put the slalom world on notice in the Men’s K1, finishing in 5th place in his first World Championships final, and securing Australia a start in the Men’s K1 at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Anderson qualified fifth fastest from 101 starters in the K1 heats on Thursday, placed sixth in the semifinals, and had a near faultless run to finish in fifth place; his best ever K1 international result.
Anderson said he was thrilled with his individual race and to have secured Australia a quota for next year’s Olympics.
“It’s awesome, I can’t believe I am standing here having just placed fifth in the final, it’s an amazing achievement, I am just stoked,” Anderson said.
“The quality today was incredible. After I did a really good run, everyone else after me was also really good. So it’s nice to know I did a good run, but everyone was really on it today.
“It’s pretty huge [to secure the quota], we always pride ourselves on being at every Olympics and competing hard, so it’s nice to know Australia will be there again come Paris next year,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Kate Eckhardt finished 30th in the Women’s K1 semifinal. Lucien Delfour placed 23rd in the Men’s semifinal, and Ben Pope placed 40th.
The 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships come to a close on Sunday with the Kayak Cross event. Jess Fox and Anderson will return to the start line in the new Olympic discipline, joined by Noemie Fox, Eckhardt, Delfour, Tristan Carter and Brodie Crawford. There are no Olympic quotas awarded for the Kayak Cross at the 2023 World Championships, with the dedicated Olympic Qualification event for Kayak Cross to be held in Prague in June 2024.