Fox makes waves at Junior World Championships
28 April 2014
CANOE/KAYAK - SLALOM: The Aussie headlines from a weekend of finals action at the Junior/ U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships held in Penrith from 23-27 April, 2014.
SUNDAY 27 APRIL: FOX SNARES THE DOUBLE
Australian Jess Fox has scored an emphatic victory in the final of the World U23 C1 in Penrith, bringing up an historic double for the Penrith 19-year-old.
Fox is the first woman to win the K1 and C1 double at U23 level, making up for the disappointment of last year when she won the C1 but failed to make the K1 final.
“It just felt really nice out there,” Fox said.
“I was a bit more relaxed today. I think having won the K1 I got some of the nerves out. For the C1 today I just felt like I should enjoy myself and make the most of the home championship.”
Fox had qualified fastest for the final, and sat back and watched the first nine competitors struggle with the difficult Penrith course.
Her closest competitor, fellow-Australian Alison Borrows, was set for a good result before capsizing heading into the final two gates.
The Czech Republic’s Monika Jancova finished second, 18 seconds behind Fox, while Australia’s Georgia Rankin was fourth.
Fox said her results this week restored her belief that she is able to do both disciplines at a major event.
“After last year’s disappointment, to win both this year, on my home course with a bit more pressure, was awesome,” she said.
“I’m enjoying doing both, and having fun, so it’s been a really memorable weekend.”
Fox’s younger sister, Noemie, was unable to match the results of her sister, picking up three missed gate penalties to finish at the back of the junior C1 field.
France’s Lucie Prioux won the gold, just one point 18 seconds ahead of Czech Martina Satkova.
In the men’s competition, Italy’s Roberto Colazingari repeated his performance of two years ago to win gold in the U23 C1, while Germany’s Florian Breuer won the junior C1 gold.
SATURDAY 26 APRIL: JUNIOR TASSIE PADDLER CLAIMS SILVER
Sixteen-year-old Tasmanian Kate Eckhardt has won silver in the Junior K1 World Canoe Slalom Championships at Penrith, despite a troubled run.
Eckhardt went into today’s final in seventh position, then had to sit and wait as other competitors also struck trouble on the difficult Penrith course.
“I can’t even explain how excited I am,” Eckhardt said.
“It’s so overwhelming. I can’t believe it. After my run I didn’t think I would be in medal contention, but once we got down to the last few paddlers I saw I had a chance, my heart was beating pretty fast, I tell you.”
Eckhardt had three gate touches, which added six seconds to her time.
The gold medal was won by Brazil’s Ana Satila, who finished in 114.48 seconds with a two-second penalty for a gate touch.
Eckhardt’s time was 121.77 seconds.
One of the first to congratulate Eckhardt was her father, Peter, who paddled for Australia at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
Experts were tipping a big improvement for the Hobart-based paddler this year, but even Eckhardt was surprised how far she’s come.
“I’m so excited to see how far I’ve progressed, from coming 24th last year to second this year, it’s so exciting,” she said.
“I can’t say that was my best paddling, but I guess I was able to put together a good enough run under so much pressure.”
Australia’s other competitor in the women’s final, Noemie Fox, finished fourth.
In the men’s K1 Mario Leitner won Austria’s first ever gold medal at a Junior World Championships, with Slovakia’s Vid Kuder Marusic second.
The Czech Republic’s Michael Matekjka and Jan Vetrovsky won the men’s junior C2 gold, ahead of New Zealand’s Daniel Munro and Luke Robinson.
FOX'S 'SWEET' VICTORY
Australia’s Jessica Fox has won the World U23 K1 canoe slalom title in Penrith, a victory she’s described as ‘really, really sweet’.
After the race Fox revealed she felt more nervous before today’s race than she’d ever felt before, including before the London Olympics, where she won a K1 silver medal.
Fox said last week she had unfinished business after failing to make last year’s U23 and Senior World Championship K1 finals.
“This is definitely a really sweet victory, revenge I think for last year,” she said.
“I was really really gutted after last year, so to win on my home course is a really sweet feeling. I can’t thank everyone enough.”
Fox was the last competitor on the course, and knew many of the other competitors had run into trouble on the demanding Penrith run.
“I’m really happy, this whole week’s been a bit full on,” Fox said.
“I guess there was a little bit of pressure on me to throw down on my home course. I knew the course was proving pretty difficult, so I knew I just had to focus on my run and not worry about what everyone else was doing.”
Fox finished in a time of 105.37, which included a two-second penalty for a gate touch.
China’s Lu Li finished second in 109.15, with Great Britain’s Beth Latham third.
Australia’s Alison Borrows finished fourth in her first major event final.
In the men’s K1, American Michal Smolten proved the master of Penrith with an impressive win
“I worked really hard to get here, so I’m just so happy that it’s come through for me,” Smolen said.
“I actually was not that nervous before the final. I was actually more nervous before my semi-final because last year I didn’t make it to the final, so you can imagine it was kind of stressful trying to get into the final.”
Italy’s Giovanni De Gennaro finished second, to follow on from his bronze last year, while pre-race favourite Jiri Prskavec from the Czech Republic in third.