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Paddlers Take On FISU World University Championships

Eight British athletes are in action at the International University Sports Federation World University Championships in Szolnok, Hungary this weekend.

Jonny Jones claims first major medal after winning bronze in the C1 men’s 500m

Noah Dembele achieves personal best in the K1 200m with a 6th place finish 

Anna Palmer takes 7th in a very competitive C1 Women’s 500m final 

Noah Dembele and Max Littlewood less than a second off silver in K2 Men’s 200m final

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Jonny Jones celebrates bronze.

Day 3

The third and final day of the international University Sports Federation World University Championships in Szolnok saw four athletes compete in A finals after a successful weekend so far.

The early morning session saw Jonny Jones (Fladbury CC, University of Birmingham) win his first major medal after taking on his second final of the weekend, having finished sixth during the C1 men's 1000m final on the Saturday.

Jonny took on the 500m on the Sunday having qualified direct to the A Final thanks to a magnificent performance where he won his heat. The Fladbury CC athlete continued his fine form on the water, where he continuously kept himself in contention to claim a brilliant bronze medal.

Speaking on his weekend of racing, Jonny said:

"It has been a superb weekend of racing for myself. Coming into the racing, I backed myself to get amongst the medals and I am so pleased I managed to win one.

"When I came third during the 500m and knew I had won the bronze, it was a huge relief. I have been striving for a medal for years now and I thought it had been coming through the progress I had made. 

"On the water, I did as well as possibly could have done and it was fantastic to show what I could do."

Noah Dembele (Leaside CC, University of Nottingham) had two finals to contend within the space of an hour, having qualified for K1 200m and the K2 200m.

The first of his finals saw Noah produce an official personal best in the K1 200m, putting in a time of 36.1. Despite a slight slip in the bucket, the University of Nottingham student posted a brilliant sixth place finish showing the great form he has been in of late. 

The athlete, who is in his second year on the UK Sport Podium Potential Programme, teamed up with fellow University of Nottingham student Max Littlewood (Nottingham Kayak Club) to finish less than a second off a silver medal in the K2 200m. 

The duo saved their best performance of the weekend for the final, where the tightly contested race saw the pair Noah and Max finish in eighth place. 

Anna Palmer (Longridge CC, Imperial College London) capped off a fantastic weekend by finishing seventh in a very competitive C1 women's 500m final. After narrowly missing out on a place in 200m final on the Saturday, Anna brushed it off and posted a great performance to finish a fantastic three days of racing for the Longridge CC athlete.

British Canoeing Podium Potential Men's Coach, Nick Fowler believes all the athletes can be extremely proud of how they performed over the three days.

He said: "The World University Championships provides a very good developmental challenge for the U23 athletes. As we saw, we had World Championship medallists competing at this competition so the standard was very high.

"I am hugely proud of the team that competed over the last three days. They focused on themselves rather than the outcome of the race. They all learnt more and more as they progressed through the heats and semi-finals, whilst they produced the best results when it mattered. 

"That is something they can all be proud of and take forward for the future."

Day 2

On the second day of the Championships in the morning session Jonny Jones (Fladbury CC, University of Birmingham) raced in the C1 men’s 1,000m final, after qualifying in third place in his heat.

Jonny improved on his time in the heat to finish in sixth place, just half a second off the medal positions in a tight race won by Bence Dori from Hungary.

The Fladbury paddler has the C1 men’s 500m final to come on the final day of the Championships.


In the afternoon qualifying rounds for the 200m events six of the British contingent battled it out for places in Sunday’s finals.

Noah Dembele (Leaside CC, University of Nottingham) led the way in the K1 men’s 200m to win his heat in a time of 36.760 and go straight into Sunday’s A final.

It was a tremendous performance from Noah, who is in his second year on the UK Sport Podium Potential Programme and recently competed in the K4 men’s 500m at the 2018 ICF Junior and Under 23 World Championships.

Noah then combined with fellow University of Nottingham student Max Littlewood (Nottingham KC) in the K2 men’s 200m. The pair finished in fifth place in their heat, but a strong performance in the semi-final ensured third place and spot in Sunday’s A final.

Anna Palmer (Longridge CC, Imperial College London) was looking to qualify for her second A final of the weekend in the C1 women’s 200m.  But fourth place in the heat and semi-final saw Anna narrowly miss qualifying for the final. Anna will race in the final of the C1 women’s 500m tomorrow. 

It was not to be for Rachel Syme (Kirkaldy CC, Heriot-Watt University) in the K1 women’s 200m, the Scottish paddler coming close to her personal best time and finishing in seventh place in the heats and semi-final.

In the K2 women’s 200m Kate McQuaid (Lee Valley CC, Loughborough University) and Nicole Wells (Lincoln CC, Leeds Beckett University) finished in sixth place in the heats and fifth in the semi-final, just missing out on the final.

Racing commences tomorrow at 08:00 BST.


Day 1

Anna Palmer from Longridge, Imperial College London, put in a storming, winning performance during the C1 Women 500m semi-final to make Sunday's A Final, after narrowly missing out on a direct route to the final with a fourth place in the heats.

Jonny Jones, Fladbury CC and University of Birmingham, put in a superb race to qualify directly though to Final A in the C1 Men 1000m heats after finishing third. The athlete absolutely smashed his next race in the C1 Men 500m in the afternoon, finishing top of his heat and therefore bypassing the semi-finals and straight into Sunday's final. 

Ryan Lark of Royal CC and Roehampton University battled to a seventh place finish in the K1 Men 1000m semi-final to claim an overall finish of 16th in his first international sprint race. 

Rachel Syme, Kirkaldy CC, Heriot-Watt University, finished sixth in the K1 Women 500m heats to earn a place in the semi-final before finishing seventh in the next round later that morning.

Max Littlewood took an eighth place finish in the K1 Men 500m heats on his return to international racing, enough to take up a place in a spot on the semi-finals, where he took a seventh place finish.

The last British involvement of the day saw a K2 duo of Kate McQuaid, Lee Valley CC and Loughborough and Nicole Wells, Lincoln CC and Leeds Beckett University, team up to take on the Women's 500m. A fifth place finish in the heats put them in the semi-finals where the pair finished in sixth place.

You can keep up-to-date with how all eight athletes are getting on at the FISU World University Championships website.

British Uni Champs

Anna Palmer

The event sees more than 200 athletes from across the globe compete.

Representing Great Britain are:

Rachel Syme      - Kirkaldy CC, Heriot-Watt University

Nicole Wells       - Lincoln CC, Leeds Beckett University

Ryan Lark           - Royal CC, Roehampton University

Max Littlewood   - Nottingham Kayak Club, University of Nottingham

Anna Palmer       - Longridge, Imperial College London

Noah Dembele    - Leaside CC, University of Nottingham

Kate McQuaid     - Lee Valley CC, Loughborough

Jonathan Jones  - Fladbury CC, University of Birmingham.

COME AND SEE SOME OF THESE ATHLETES IN ACTION AT SUPER SEPTEMBER. Click here to find out more.