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European Champion Woods adds World Cup gold to season’s tally

Britain’s Kimberley Woods consolidated on her European Championships C1W title from earlier this month by winning gold on a testing course in the Prague World Cup today.

There was further success for GB when Mallory Franklin took the C1 silver medal just behind Woods.

Franklin had finished eighth in the morning’s semi final but so fast was her final, despite collecting six seconds in penalties, that she held a lead of more 20 seconds over the next five competitors. 

It was a nervous wait for Franklin watching Woods start her race.  And only Woods, who had qualified fourth in the semis, came close to producing anything near the same speed in the final as Franklin.   But a clean run made all the difference and she finished 3.98 seconds ahead. 

To come away with a win in the senior Europeans gave me a lot of confidence to come here, train and test the boundaries of what I can do

– Kimberley Woods

“One of the key things I’m working on throughout these three weeks of the World Cups is taking stuff on,” said Woods afterwards.

“Normally I wouldn’t be doing some of the moves so straight but I’m glad I did that in this race and it paid off.

“I kept it calm, kept the boat running and was glad that I came out with a clean run, which was very difficult on this course.”

Proving just how tough today’s course was, the Brits’ closest rival, Australian multiple world champion Jess Fox and her younger sister Noemie, both missed the final after picking up 50 second penalties for missing gates.

“Normally there is time to breath on a course and take a bit of a step back, but on this course there are 25 gates and it is just one gate straight after another,” explained Woods.

“You are trying to refocus so quickly, so to come away with a clean run on such a tight course shows the development I’ve been making.

“There was only really one bit that didn’t go to plan.  I had meant to go straight around gate 19 but in the moment I had a bit of a panic and made a quick decision to do a spin and got a bit caught.

“But I knew I was on a good run and I knew if I did the next bit well that I’d still be on for a good time.”

Franklin had finished fourth in the women’s K1 at the Europeans and helped GB win the C1 team event.

It’s nice to get back in the medals and to performing how I know can and I think. I’m a bit sad about the touches but it was a good run and I enjoyed it.

– Mallory Franklin

The women’s C1 will be a new event for the Rio 2020 Olympic Games and, judging by this week’s entries, its inclusion is being taken very seriously.  Fifty-three women entered the C1 competition in Prague and, for the first time in a world cup, 30 made the semi finals.

“It’s amazing how many women are competing in C1 now and I imagine that in a couple of years it will be a lot bigger still,” said Woods.  

“The field is getting better and I want the top girls to move the boundaries on to make the class even better.

“In GB having lots of girls chasing us keeps us on our toes so we have to try and make sure we stay ahead of the field.”

In today’s men’s K1 event, Olympic Champion Joe finished sixth in a final dominated by the home competitors. Bradley Forbes-Cryans, finished outside the top ten cut for the final as the eighteenth placed semi finalist.  A missed gate cost Chris Bowers dearly and he came thirty sixth.

Tomorrow Franklin and Woods will race in the semi final of the women’s K1 competition.

In the men’s event David Florence and Ryan Westley will both contest the C1 semi final.

Day 2 results:

C1 Women
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – semi final 4th, final 1st GOLD 
Mallory Franklin (Windsor) – semi final 8th, final 2nd SILVER  
Jasmine Royle (Stafford & Stone) – semi final 13th

K1 Men
Joseph Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – semi final 9th, final 6th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) – semi final 18th 
Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – semi final 36th 

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