Great Britain’s Fiona Pennie, Mallory Franklin and Ryan Westley all qualified for the 2018 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championship’s first individual boat finals after a thrilling Friday in Rio.
Today’s course was as physically and technically challenging as it had been the rest of the week although, much to the pleasure of Westley, the searing temperatures had dropped to a more manageable twenty degrees.
The 25-year-old, enjoying his best season after becoming men’s C1 European Champion and reaching four World Cup finals with a bronze medal in one, continued his fine form by advancing to tomorrow’s finals.
“Relief is probably the best word for how I felt crossing the line,” said Westley, whose clean run helped him finish the semi final eighth.
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to make a final of a race quite so much– Ryan Westley
“The course they put out was a fair bit of a challenge but I knew I had it in me having paddled fairly well this season.
“If anything I probably put more pressure on myself because of that; I know I’m good enough and I expect those kind of runs from myself fairly often.
“Today wasn’t a faultless run but the aim was to get myself into the final so I was pretty confident it was going to be enough.”
Unfortunately Westley’s two team mates did not progress beyond the semi finals.
Two-times C1 World Champion, David Florence, was one of the big names to miss out after eight seconds in penalties contributed to his twentieth place, whilst Adam Burgess finished seventeenth.
“It’s mixed (emotions) because I’d love them to join me in the final,” said Westley, who won the bronze medal at the Lee Valley World Championships in 2015, with Florence winning the gold.
“And it would be awesome to have all three British boats there in the final. But if it was a choice between me or anyone else I will obviously put myself first.”
Britain’s super-consistent Fiona Pennie is no stranger to World Championship finals having featured in no less than seven in the women’s K1 event and winning silver twice (Prague 2006 and Deep Creek 2014).
Today she qualified again after finishing fourth, impressively digging very deep in the final section. After finishing her run seventh Mallory Franklin endured an anxious wait to see if she had done sufficient for the final, eventually being rewarded with the tenth place.
“Generally there are a few places on the course where there is a bit of time to be gained by me,” said Pennie, who finished 1.9 seconds down on race leader Ricarda Funk of Germany.
It’s the biggest race of the year, the one to get the job done– Fiona Pennie
“I made a bit of a silly touch so take that out of the picture too and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) – Semi final 8th to Final on Saturday
Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) – Semi final 17th
David Florence (Forth) – Semi final 20th
Fiona Pennie (C.R Cats) – Semi final 4th to Final on Saturday
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Semi final 10th to Final on Saturday
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) - Semi final 20th
For live streaming and results go to: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe... and follow the British action on Twitter @BritishCanoeing 25-30 September 2018.