21-year old Kimberley Woods continued her rich vein of form today in the women’s kayak single (K1), adding silver to her canoe single (C1) gold from yesterday.
Woods qualified through the semi final in fifth, so started the final halfway down the 10-strong field. She posted a fast clean run of 104.92 on the tricky course and was only pipped to the gold by reigning Olympic champion Maialen Chourraut of Spain, by 0.24 seconds. Ricarda Funk, 2015 World silver medallist from Germany, was third.
An ecstatic Kimberley Woods said: “I am overwhelmed as getting into the K1 final was my goal, so to get silver was more than I could hope for. I just went into the race and stayed calm. It was a really tricky course with a lot of the top girls making mistakes, so to post a clean run and get a medal at a World Cup is amazing.
“Coming out of the last upstream I thought I had done a good time, with only a couple of small mistakes, but when I crossed the finish line and I was first it was great.
“I had to watch four more girls come down and two of them went behind me so I knew I had got a medal, but then Maialen (Chourraut) beat me by only 0.24 which was a shame, but I am more than happy with my run. It was nerve wracking to have to wait but I have been in that position before.”
Reflecting on the fact that next week is Women’s Sport Week, Woods added: “We have such strength in depth right now in canoe slalom in British which is great. I just want to inspire more young women to get involved and I want to be a role model and show that girls can perform under pressure.
“It is so important to have fun and enjoy it. I like to show that I am having fun on the course, just what it means to be there and how lucky I am that this is my job!”
Mallory Franklin who took C1 silver yesterday was also in confident mood and finished fourth, just missing out on the K1 podium for the second time in two weeks. Whilst it must seem a case of so near and yet so far for Franklin, who turns 23 tomorrow, she should be rightly pleased with the consistent form she is showing so early in the season and mixing it with the very best in the world.
Great Britain also had two finalists in the men’s canoe single (C1) and both David Florence and Ryan Westley were pleased to get their season back on track. With the world class field forcing the pace, the errors came thick and fast and none of the finalists managed to come down the course with a clean run. A couple of touches on the tricky Prague course pushed David down to a hard fought fifth, whilst a 50 on gate 17, along with three other touches, effectively put paid to Ryan’s chances on this occasion.
Reflecting on a successful weekend, canoe slalom head coach, Mark Ratcliffe said: “It was a good weekend for the GB team as a whole, with seven finalists over all four Olympic classes, delivering one gold and two silver medals.
“It is really encouraging the way our women have stepped up in both classes and have consolidated on a good Europeans performance.”
The GB canoe slalom squad moves on to World Cup 2 next weekend in Augsburg, Germany.
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – 2nd SILVER
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – 4th
David Florence (Forth) – 5th
Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) – 10th