Great Britain finished the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Bratislava by winning a gold and two silvers on the final day of competition.
Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods, who won individual gold and bronze medals apiece in the U23 C1 on Friday joined up with Eilidh Gibson to successfully defend the C1 team title they won a year ago.
Retaining the title always puts a bit more pressure on you at the start, so it’s pretty awesome to win– Eilidh Gibson
“We are really happy to put down a good run which doesn’t always happen in team runs," said Gibson, who made up for her disappointment of missing out on the final in her individual C1 event earlier in the week.
"I was a bit upset not to paddle a run in the C1 semis that was anywhere near my ability so today was really the nice icing.”
Britain’s junior C1 team narrowly missed a medal after they were moved down from third to fourth following a late change to the final results. That they were just one place off the podium emphasises the country’s strength in this new Olympic event.
“Women’s C1 women in Britain is very strong,” Gibson continued. “It makes it hard to make the team but it also means that you have to really push for it. We’ve now got a really good crop of juniors coming up who are very much hot on our heels and pushing us.”
Franklin and Woods then added a further medal to the tally, this time combining with first time British team member, 20 year old Gabi Ridge, to win silver in the women’s K1 team final.
The trio had finished third before 50 seconds of penalties were added to Slovakia’s score and GB moved up to second place, a big step up from sixth place last year.
To come back and win medals in two team runs is brilliant– Kimberley Woods
"And I’m pretty pleased to get on the podium in kayak," said Woods. "Mal and I have raced together so many times and we are so familiar with each other’s routines.
“It’s just adding that extra person and letting them know how it works. Gabi raced really well and she should be very happy with a good run.”
Ridge admitted to feeling some nerves at partnering the top international pair but they gave her advice and she kept her cool.
“To race my first under 23 World Championships with Mal and Kim who are both very successful paddlers was an incredible experience,” she said.
“Both of them kept telling me I was capable of doing a good run and, whatever happens, to keep going. It was the mentality I took in and it paid off.”
Franklin leaves Bratislava with two golds and a silver medal in what is her last under 23 championships. Woods, who still has a year to go at this age group, completes the week with a medal of every colour.
As she is keen to stress, there is only one event in which she hasn’t won the C1 women’s team title: “The only one we haven’t got yet is the Senior World Championships C1 team title so we are pretty excited for Pau and we are out to get it.”
Britain’s men’s team of Sam Ibbotson, Tom Abbott and Will Smith won silver in the men’s C1 team event.
“It’s great to get silver and a great feeling standing on the podium,” said Abbott, who had finished eighth in the individual event earlier in the week.
“I knew we had all put the hard work in and if we had three individually good runs then we could hope for the best.
“We stuck to the plan, did the best we could do and the best was enough.”
Christopher Bowers, Bradley Forbes-Cryans and Zachary Allan came eleventh in today’s men’s under 23 K1 team event, but Bowers was happy with a week which saw him finish fourth in his individual K1.
“The result was quite nice, the run wasn’t ideal but it was a hard course and loads of people were struggling on it,” said Bowers whose previous best result was a sixth place in the 2015 junior world championships.
“The podium seems to be getting closer all the time so hopefully it will happen soon.”
A member of the British senior team this season, Bowers heads to Pau tomorrow for a three-week training camp in readiness for the world championships there in September and the last two races of the World Cup series.
“I’ve been really enjoying it and I’ve learnt a lot,” said Bowers about his year so far in senior events.
“They haven’t been quite the results I’ve wanted but it’s just that last little bit that’s been missing and I think that will come from freshening myself up properly for the race and I will be in the right place.”
Said British Canoeing Podium Potential Lead Coach, Greg Hitchen: "Overall it's been a very positive championships
With many juniors racing at a junior Worlds for the first time, the learning and progression from each run has been fantastic and full of personal best results.– British Canoeing Podium Potential Lead Coach, Greg Hitchen
“With eight finals spanning each Olympic class we have a strong foundation upon which to build.
“Mallory Franklin leaves her final U23 Worlds with both individual and team World Championship titles in C1W and a silver medal in the K1W team. This is a superb feat.
“Kimberley Woods also achieved three medals with an individual bronze in C1W and team gold and silver continuing her excellent 2017.
“Coming home with three team medals finished off a successful championship.
We look forward to re focusing and heading out to the Euros in August.”
Results from Sunday 23 July
GB under 23 team
K1M Team event: 11th Christopher Bowers (Stafford & Stone), Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats), Zachary Allin (Tees Tigers)
K1W Team event: 2nd SILVER Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District), Kimberley Woods (Rugby), Gabi Ridge (Seren Dwr / Llandysul)
C1M Team event: 2nd SILVER Sam Ibbotson (Holme Pierrepont), Tom Abbott (Mold), Will Smith (Winchester & District)
C1W Team event: 1st GOLD Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District), Kimberley Woods (Rugby), Eilidh Gibson (Strathallan)
GB Junior team
K1M Team event: 16th David Paterson (Manchester), Etienne Chappell (Seren Dwr), Michael Dickinson (Stafford & Stone)
K1W Team event: 5th Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr), Bethan Forrow (Lee Valley), Hannah Thomas (Lee Valley)
C1W Team event: 4th Bethan Forrow (Lee Valley), Ellis Miller (Lee Valley), Phoebe Spicer (Lee Valley)
Pictures by Balint Vekassy and Craig Morris