After a seven week block of training at their Lee Valley base, the British senior team returned to competitive action today at the canoe slalom World Cup Final in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain.
After what has been one of the sport’s best ever starts to the season, with 10 individual senior medals won so far, this week is the final chance to test themselves, ahead of the all-important World Championships in Rio at the end of the month (25-30 September). And with all 12 GB senior boats qualifying through to semi finals over the weekend, they didn’t disappoint.
In the men’s canoe single (C1) David Florence, who won World Cup gold in Krakow back in June, once again topped the leader board today in the heats, with a dominant run to go straight through to tomorrow’s semi final. One second behind him in third with another clean run was European Champion, Ryan Westley. However it took European silver medallist, Adam Burgess, a second run down the typically tight and tricky La Seu course to make it a full house for GB in C1.
The senior team women’s K1 trio fared similarly well. Kimberly Woods and Fiona Pennie posted competitive clean runs to go straight through in seventh and 11th respectively, whilst Mallory Franklin just missed the cut in 21st. But a consistent second heat run saw her top the leader board and go swiftly through to join her teammates. Unfortunately U23 athlete Megan Hamer Evans was unable to find the pace required to progress.
Back in action after the lunch break in the C1, Mallory Franklin gave another impressive performance to post the fastest time of the day with a clean 112.05 to finish 2.5 seconds ahead of Ana Satila of Brazil and teammate Kimberley Woods in a strong third.
Whilst teenager Bethan Farrow has found it challenging this season to step up to the senior ranks, today she showed she is more than capable of taking it all in her stride. Going early in the start order she gave an accomplished performance to eventually finish in 12th place and also qualify for the semi final. Furthermore her time was only one second adrift of Australian Jessica Fox in 12th, who has dominated the World Cup this year.
Despite a much improved second run, Scotland’s Sophie Ogilvie was the only women’s C1 paddler to miss out.
The men’s K1 paddlers then upped the pace with a huge 73-strong field vying for one of the 40 semi final spots.
GB’s Bradley Forbes-Cryans who has had his most successful season to date, including an impressive U23 World Championships K1 silver medal, demonstrated his consistency once more. He posted a clean run of 97.71 seconds to qualify direct to the semi final on Sunday in 13th.
Olympic Champion, Joe Clarke, was too far off the pace on his first run and missed the cut by one. But second time down he shaved four seconds from his time to top the leader board and keep his hopes of further World Cup success alive and build on his gold and bronze won back in June.
Memories of a missed gate on run one for Chris Bowers were quickly erased, when he too grabbed a semi final spot in sixth position and sealed a strong opening day for Great Britain with 100% of the senior team progressing to semi finals over the weekend.
For live streaming and results go to: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-slalom-world-cup/la-seu-durgell-2018
DAY 1 RESULTS SUMMARY
David Florence (Forth) – Heats 1st direct to Semi Final on Saturday
Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) – Heats 3rd, direct to Semi Final on Saturday
Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) – Heats 1st run 23rd, 2nd run 5th to Semi Final on Saturday
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – Heats 7th, direct to Semi Final on Saturday
Fiona Pennie (CR Cats) – Heats 11th, direct to Semi Final on Saturday
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Heats 1st run 21st, 2nd run 1st to Semi Final on Saturday
Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) - Heats 1st run 42nd, 2nd run 23rd
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Heats 1st, direct to Semi Final on Sunday
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – Heats 3rd, direct to Semi Final on Sunday
Bethan Forrow (Lee Valley Paddle Sports) – Heats 1st run 12th, direct to Semi Final on Sunday
Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) – Heats 1st run 42nd, 2nd run 15th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (C.R Cats) – Heats 13th, direct to Semi Final on Sunday
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – Heats 1st run 31st, 2nd run 1st to Semi Final on Sunday
Christopher Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – Heats 1st run 66th, 2nd run 6th to Semi Final on Sunday