Britain’s Chloe Bracewell has reached her first final in a European Championships which Team Leader, Tim Brabants describes as having a “really high quality field with all top athletes competing from 40 nations.”
In the slimmed-down GB team racing in the sprint event at Belgrade this weekend, 27-year-old Bracewell finished third in the C1W 500m heat to put her directly into Saturday’s A final.
It’s about getting out fast and as I’ve got a fast start I was trying to build a good first 300– Chloe Bracewell
“That seemed to go well and I settled into a nice rate where I just tried to hold on for the last 200.”
Later on, partnering Nia Tomos in the C2W 500m event, the pair came agonisingly close to qualifying for the A final in that race too, but their fourth was just one place off. Yet, there was a consolation.
“It was a bit disappointing to just miss the final but we were pleased to come tenth overall which is a qualifying spot (provisionally and subject to ratification) for Great Britain at the European Games in C2 next year,” she continued. “So that was important and we had to come in the top 12.”
Bracewell and Tomos are part of a strong group of British women’s canoe athletes who were introduced to the sport through British Canoeing’s fast track Girls4Gold programme.
There is little to separate four of the group. At last month’s World Cup 1, Tomos and Katie Reid finished the C2 500m B Final in fifth place, whilst Bracewell and Bethany Gill were just one place behind.
With the women’s C1 and C2 events being introduced to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, there is a feeling of excited anticipation at where the sport might lead them.
“We all push each other on and, although both crews have their own plan and are aiming to execute their own plan, we did happen to be there next to each other in quite a few races,” Bracewell explained.
“It’s exciting that women’s C1 and C2 will be in the Olympics. We are all quite new still because we are from the talent ID programme and still developing boat C1 and C2 skills, so no one’s really specializing as of yet.
But we are all progressing quite quickly so you can’t tell where you might get to next– Chloe Bracewell
In the day’s other action, Jon Boyton raced well but just missed out on the fastest finisher spot to make the B final slot in the men’s K1 1000m.
Katie Reid, the other member of the British sprint team in Belgrade, begins her racing tomorrow in the women’s C1 200m event.
Tomorrow also marks the start of the Paracanoe European Championships at the Belgrade venue with the nine-strong British team looking to build on their outstanding performances from the World Cup.
Britain’s Grand Slam champions, Emma Wiggs, Jeanette Chippington and Emma Wiggs, will compete in the VL2W 200 competition, hoping to add to their stash of medals from last month’s Paracanoe World Cup in Szeged (two golds for Wiggs, a silver and bronze for Chippington).
GB’s David Phillipson, who won bronze in the VL3 200m on his international debut at Szeged, is back racing again in the men’s VL3 200m competition along with Jack Eyres, and again in the KL2 200m where he is joined in the heats by Nicholas Beighton.
Friday results summary
K1M 1000m - Jon Boyton (Royal CC), heats 6th, semi final 8th
C1W 500m - Chloe Bracewell (Holme Pierrepont) heats 3rd to A Final (Saturday)
C2W 500m - Nia Tomos (Holme Pierrepont) & Chloe Bracewell (Holme Pierrepont) heats 6th, semi final 4th
For schedule and live results click here