Rebi Simon struck gold in the K1 1000m A final to produce the first medal for GB in the Junior and U23 Sprint European Championships at Belgrade today.
Beating the Hungarian Sarah Mihalik into second was what Team Leader Mark Hoile described as “the perfect race, leaving everything on the water to cross the finish line and take gold.”
Simon, who won the Junior European title at the distance in 2013 and today won for the first time at under 23 level, wholeheartedly agrees.
“I always think it’s a really good race if you can’t really remember the last 250m and that’s what happened today,” she explained cheerily.
“If I think back to it now I can kind of remember when I picked up but because you push so hard you don’t really remember it.
“But I’m really excited to be back on the podium and to win gold.
“The focus has been the K4 for the last two years but I feel like I’m near to getting back to where I want to be again in the K1.”
Simon has been on the British international scene for a number of years racing at World Cup level and for Team GB in last year’s Rio Games where she competed in the women’s K4 500m.
Yet she is still only 20 years old and this is the first time she has competed at under 23 level.
“The Under 23s are really important, especially this year because my main aim is the under 23 Worlds,” said Simon, who has also qualified for tomorrow’s K1 500m A final.
I’m obviously going to train my absolute hardest to get into the senior team but the under 23s are still really important and it is really hard competition, especially the year after the Olympics– Rebi Simon
“Lots of people are doing as many races as they can and, especially in the K1 500 which we are doing tomorrow, there are a lot of names who are already medaling at senior level.”
In the day’s other under 23 A finals at the Belgrade capital Britain’s Tom Lusty finished seventh in the under 23 K1 1000m A final, whilst Deborah Kerr and Sam Rees-Clark were sixth in the K2 1000m.
In the under 18 event Charlie Smith finished sixth in the boys K1 1000m A final.
The action continues tomorrow. Further information on official website here
GB results from Saturday 24 June:
Under 23 Men
K1 200m: Stelian Naftanaila (Nottingham KC) semi final 6th, to B final
K1 1000m: Tom Lusty (Solihull CC) A Final 7th
K2 200m: Noah Dembele (Leaside CC) / Trevor Thomson (Ealing CC) semi final 7th, to B final
Under 23 Women
K1 1000m: Rebi Simon (Elmbridge CC) A Final 1st, GOLD
K2 1000m: Deborah Kerr (Strathclyde KC) / Sam Rees-Clark (Nottingham CC) A final 6th
K1 200m: Ieuan James (Forth CC) semi final 2nd, to A final
K11000m: Charlie Smith (Leighton Buzzard) A final 6th
K1 200m: Renee Myburgh (Royal CC) semi final 8th, to B Final
C1 200m: Ruth Bennett (Fladbury CC) semi final 9th