Great Britain’s track record of success in the women’s canoe single (C1) continued at the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Prague today, with World Champion Mallory Franklin taking the silver in the individual C1 and following it up with gold in the Team event, supported by teammates Kimberley Woods and Bethan Forrow.
The 23-year-old from Windsor laid down the gauntlet yesterday, winning the heats in the fastest time of the weekend 114.06. She posted another strong run in the semi final and eased through to the final, despite picking up ten seconds of penalties on the revised course.
In the final, Franklin set off halfway down the field and with just one touch on gate 16 posted the time to beat of 119.58. Four other paddlers including teammates Kimberley Woods and Bethan Forrow tried to chase her down, but only the Austrian, Viktoria Wolffhardt manged to pip her to the title, by just 0.57 seconds. Delighted to win her fourth European Championships medal, Mallory Franklin said:
It was a good outcome, although my run wasn’t the best as I made a mistake and hit a gate. The course was so hard for all the girls and it was just a general struggle all the way down, so to come out with a medal on that kind of course is really good.– Mallory Franklin, European silver medallist, C1
“There were lots of very tough staggers and you had to stay focused for so long, which was really hard. I had a suspicion I had done enough to medal but thought I might slip to bronze. It was really good to end up that close to winning I can’t ask for much more than that.
The 2017 European Champion, Kimberley Woods was disappointed to finish in tenth, whilst Bethan Forrow making her senior international debut at just 17-years-old was rightly proud of her impressive weekend of racing which saw her mix it with some of the biggest names in the sport to finish ninth.
The talented trio then combined forces in the C1 Team event and finished more than six seconds ahead of France to retain their European crown, with Spain in third.
The men’s K1 was equally exciting with Great Britain also fielding the full complement of three boats. It was 19-year-old Chris Bowers from Stoke-on-Trent who took it out in the final and put down one of the runs of his life for the others to chase posting a clean 93.39 seconds, to rank first for a large part of the race. In the end he was nudged down the leader board and finished in fifth as top Brit, delivering his best ever senior result by a huge margin in only his third year on the senior team.
“It was nice to put such a good run down. I had nothing to lose in the final going off first and I just went out to deliver my plan the best I could.
“It was a long wait, but exciting to watch the race and anyone of the 15 boats could have won it was so close - there was just 0.4 seconds between the first and four boats for a while. I managed to put it together on the day and there was a bit of luck on my side.
“It is a nice boost for the start of the season and it has been a good chance to see how the international boys have trained over the winter coming in to the start of the season. Seeing I can mix it with the top guys there and showing I have got the pace is great. I don’t need to do anything different, as what I am doing works.”
23-year-old Bradley Forbes-Cryans also had an outstanding weekend with three fast clean runs to qualify for his first European Championships final and post his first ever top ten senior result, finishing in eighth.
“I have had a clean weekend and I am really happy to have qualified well for today. With such a good starting position for this morning I had a lot of time to study my race plane and deliver a safe run in the semi final to make sure I made the final cut. Once I was in, I changed up my plan and executed another clean run. On another day I might have been up there in the mix. I am very happy to come away with an eighth place.”
Olympic Champion, Joe Clarke also showed some good consistency, but wasn’t quite able to find the speed in the final to challenge the leaders and finished 11th.
The men’s K1 Team also just missed out on the podium. They combined well but were just nudged into fourth place by the last boat down the course from Czech Republic who took gold, losing out on bronze to Slovenia by 0.88 seconds.
Racing continues tomorrow with semi finals and finals in the women’s K1 and Men’s C1.
For live results go to: https://siwidata.com/canoelive/#/live/eca/1373
SATURDAY RESULTS SUMMARY
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Final 2nd SILVER
Bethan Forrow (Lee Valley Paddle Sports) – Final 9th
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – Final 10th
C1W Team – 1st GOLD
Christopher Bowers (Stafford & Stone) – Final 5th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (C.R Cats) – Final 8th
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – Final 11th
K1M Team – 4th