Nikita Setchell became European K1W Junior Champion whilst the Great Britain team showed real strength in qualifying an athlete for all four finals on the last day of the Canoe Slalom Junior and U23 European Championships in Bratislava.
Setchell, who squeezed into this afternoon’s K1W final in tenth spot, was first off in the final, getting to gate 13 where a pole was missing. She carried on before her race was stopped at gate 16.
Twenty minutes later she was back composed on the start line for a re-run and the last competitor to go. Astonishingly she finished the run not only fastest but almost three seconds ahead of the second placed Eva Alina Hovecar of Slovenia.
“We do three or four runs close together when we’re training so it’s exactly the same and I knew I could do another run, I know I’m physically able to,” said Nikita who turned 18 the day before heading out to the competition.
“Before my re-run I tried not to listen to the results of the girls before me and I didn’t even know what was happening until I’d finished and crossed the finishing line.
I didn’t even realise I was first until everyone jumped in the water on top of me– Nikita Setchell
Coached by Ian Raspin at Nottingham where her family moved to three years ago so she could train at Holme Pierrepont, Setchell had missed junior team selection by just one point and was reserve before Beth Forrow gave up her place.
Joining forces with Lily Bryant (Llandysul Paddlers) and Lois Leaver (Edinburgh Schools) on Friday, Setchell won bronze in K1W Junior Team final. Combined with learning this week she had got a good set of A level results, things could not be better.
“The team medal on Friday helped because I didn’t expect to come away with anything,” said Setchell whose best result before this week had been third place in a Premier event.
“After the team medal I thought I knew I had achieved something and it just built up my confidence.
“This was my first international race and it’s been amazing to get this opportunity.”
In the day’s other action, Gabrielle Ridge (Llandysul Paddlers) finished fifth in the K1W U23 final having qualified from the semi final in an identical fifth place, whilst Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) was seventeenth.
Sam Maingay (Stafford & Stone) qualified for the C1M Junior final in ninth place but too many penalties put Peter Linksted (Stirling & Falkirk) out of the running in nineteenth place. Maingay moved up one position in the final to finish eighth.
Fast and clean, Tom Abbott (Mold) finished the C1M U23 semi final in third place, with Sam Ibbotson (Holme Pierrepont) and Will Smith (Winchester & District) out of the running in fifteenth and eighteenth respectively.
But after a perfect run in the final, which would have put him second on the podium, Abbott picked up a 50 second penalty on the final gate to finish ninth.
Nikita Setchell (Holme Pierrepont) – Semi Final 10th, Final 1st GOLD
Lily Bryant (Llandysul Paddlers) – Semi Final 16th
Sam Maingay (Stafford & Stone) – Semi Final 9th, Final 8th
Peter Linksted (Stirling & Falkirk) – Semi Final 19th
Gabrielle Ridge (Llandysul Paddlers) – Semi Final 5th, Final 5th
Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) – Semi Final 17th
Tom Abbott (Mold) – Semi Final 3rd, Final 9th
Sam Ibbotson (Holme Pierrepont) – Semi Final 15th
Will Smith (Winchester & District) – Semi Final 18th