Emma Russell continued her impressive medal run by winning bronze in the Junior K1W 500m on the final day of the ICF U23 and Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships in Bulgaria.
On a flat Plovdiv course with a small tailwind the 17-year-old paced herself well in the first half of the A final before upping the tempo in the second 250m. Gold went to Eszter Rendessy of Hungary, whilst Belarussian Ina Sauchuk took silver.
“The more races I do the more I learn how to pace myself and see what I can do, so coming into this I was feeling really good,” said the Chelmsford CC athlete who is coached by Steve Moule.
In the first 250 today I controlled it and paced myself, then with 250 to go I just picked it up. Once you start gaining on someone you just keep going– Emma Russell
“The conditions were really good today with a slight tailwind and it was quite warm and nice and flat. That was a PB for me today by quite a lot.”
It’s been an outstanding four weeks for the Emma who has won a medal of every colour in that time. She was K1W 500m silver medallist in the Canoe Sprint Junior European Championships (also finishing just behind Sauchuk on that occasion, although the margin between then was less today) before winning junior gold in the Canoe Marathon Europeans.
Feeling slightly stunned by what has been a whirlwind of a month she admitted “I can’t quite believe it but I am really pleased.”
On the final day of competition there were further PBs across the British team. In the junior competition K2W 500m Rachel Kneen and Zoe Clark finished fifth in the K2W 500m B Final whilst, in the under 23s, Afton Fitzhenry and Ruth Bennett were eighth in the C2W 500m final. The men’s K4, Ieuan James, Stelian Naftanaila, Trevor Thomson and Noah Dembele, came second in the 500m B Final.
“We raced the weekend really well and got a nice PB so now we are in a good place to start the winter training,” said Stelian who, aged 23, is the oldest in a boat which has big ambitions.
Our time is quick in a world class in a tough field. So who knows what another winter is going to do before we try to qualify for the Games. That’s the big dream.– Stelian Naftanaila
"Now we need to go away, keep building on what we’ve been doing and make it faster and faster. It’s a two year plan leading up to the Games so the aim is to be able to go and qualify for it.”
Said Canoe Sprint Lead Podium Potential Coach, Kristina Medovcikovs: “I am pleased with our performances over the last four days and very happy for Emma winning a bronze medal.
“She really showed her class by racing bold and smart and it paid off. The whole team performed to their best with many PBs and they learnt a lot. We had many second, third and fourth positions in B finals, so hopefully we will come back stronger next year with more A finals and medals.
“I would also like to thank all the clubs, who support their athletes and ignite the vision of competing on the world’s stage, and for all the hard work, help and determination they have put into their athletes to get them this far and hopefully beyond.”
For official website visit: www.canoeicf.com
Day 4 Results Summary
K1W 500m Emma Russell (Chelmsford) - Semi Final 2nd, A Final 3rd BRONZE
K2W 500m Rachel Kneen (Forth) / Zoe Clark (Royal) - Semi Final 7th, B Final 5th
C2W 500m Alix Aitchison (Holme Pierrepont) / Charlotte Carey (Holme Pierrepont) –Semi Final 9th
K4M 500m Ieuan James (Forth) / Stelian Naftanaila (Nottingham) / Trevor Thomson (Ealing) / Noah Dembele (Leaside) - Semi Final 6th, B Final 2nd
K1W 500m Sam Rees-Clark (Loughborough) - Semi Final 7th
C2W 500m Ruth Bennett (Fladbury) / Afton Fitzhenry (CNI) - Semi Final 3rd, Final 8th