On the final day of racing at the 2019 Canoe Slalom European Championships, Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) added the women’s individual canoe single (C1) gold to her medal haul, having won the C1 Team gold on Friday and the women’s kayak single (K1) yesterday, whilst teammate Kimberley Woods took bronze.
The 24-year old from Windsor has previously won three C1 silvers and a bronze medal at this event, but this is the first time she has claimed the European title.
Speaking yesterday, she had explained how this technically difficult course, ironically set by GB coach Richard Hounslow, would be challenging for the C1 women and so it proved. There were penalties for every competitor in the semi-final and Mallory was the only paddler to post a clean run in the final. However she was a class apart in the speed department also and she finished in a time of 109.95 seconds, more than ten seconds ahead of Nuria Vilarrubla from Spain in 120.15 seconds and British teammate Kimberley Woods in third with 125.39 seconds.
Reflecting Mallory said: “I put down a really good run in the end today and had a clean run in the final which was good. It is such a hard place to paddle here, but I just kept a cool head and locked down my plan.
It is amazing to have won my first ever senior European title, it is really cool, but I don’t think it has sunk in yet. To have that kind of lead was really crazy.– Mallory Franklin
Looking ahead to the World Cup she added: “It has given me a real confidence boost, particularly knowing I am not at my peak at the moment, so we will see what happens on our home course.”
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) was also thrilled to be back on the C1 podium, an event in which she herself was European Champion in 2015 and 2017. She had had a rollercoaster week, first crashing out of the women’s K1 heats on Thursday and then winning C1 Team gold on Friday, before getting things fully back on track with a C1 individual bronze today.
Kimberley Woods said: “My week got off to a rough start not making the semi-final in kayak, but I got my head focused on C1 and winning the gold with the girls gave me a confidence boost along with winning the C1 heats, so to come away with a medal was a miracle with that run.
“It was a huge relief to make it through to the final and to get back on the podium was amazing and I feel things are going in the right direction now.”
Scotland’s Sophie Ogilvie also qualified for the final, showing Great Britain’s strength in depth in both men’s and women’s C1. She finished in eighth place and can be well satisfied with her European Championships debut.
The drama continued in the men’s kayak single (K1) with Bradley Forbes-Cryans looking like he had bagged a place in the final, only to find a touch added to his time as the results became official, leaving him in 17th place and two places below the cut.
Olympic Champion Joe Clarke continued to demonstrate his fine form qualifying in third for the final. He set off at a blistering pace and was looking good for a medal, until a touch on gate 16 saw him sitting in third in a time of 95.01 seconds with two boats to go.
Next to go, the Austrian, Felix Oschmautz soon ruled himself out as he missed four successive gates, but Poland’s Dariusz Popiela put down a clean 94.44 seconds to take silver behind Vit Prindis of the Czech Republic and relegated Clarke to fourth.
Commenting on his costly touch Joe Clarke said: “I am a bit gutted not to get a medal but to be the fastest boat in every single round is one of the most important things and without the touch I would have been European Champion, so things are going in the right direction. I certainly feel ready for the World Cup now and I am looking forward to getting back on the start line.”
DAY 4 RESULTS SUMMARY
Women’s C1 Heats
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Final 1st GOLD
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) – Final 3rd BRONZE
Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) – Final 9th
Men’s K1 Heats
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – Final 4th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) – Semi-final 17th