Birthday girl Kimberley Woods won a fantastic C1 silver medal in what was a tight finish on the third and final day of the canoe slalom World Cup Final in Prague, Czech Republic.
Kimberley was the fastest of the semi-finalists on the first race of the day and put in an exceptional final run to claim the silver medal.
Having been the last competitor down the course, it was Jess Fox who had set a blistering pace to finish 4.44 seconds ahead of the local paddler Tereza Fiserova.
Kimberley was just half a second down at the first time check and despite a touch on gate 11 she maintained her momentum into the bottom part of the course. In arguably the best performance on the final section of the course, Kimberley pegged back the 0.68 deficit to fly over the line and missed the gold by just 0.04 seconds to claim a well deserved silver medal.
Having finished in fifth place in the K1 final yesterday, this medal topped off a great weekend of racing for the birthday girl.
Extremely pleased with how the weekend has gone, Kim said:
"This is one of my favourite courses and today it just all came together and I felt really good. I was in the top two through all the rounds so it was good to deliver that final run today and deliver consistent races."
I'm quite an instinctive paddler and with such a technical course it really played to my strengths. I've previously struggled during the last part of the race but i felt really strong, and with the crowd cheering I just went faster.– Kimberley Woods
"The World Championships is coming around quickly but I'm feeling good in the boat. I've got a lot of confidence in all the areas I've been working on and I can't wait to get there and race."
Mallory Franklin had an uncharacteristic race and having missed her line at the top of the course, she was forced to paddle back up to gates seven and then nine. Picking up four seconds of penalties on the way, she was unable to make up the time deficit on this tricky course.
Mallory missed the cut into the final by almost three and a half seconds to finish in 15th place overall in 129.21
Sophie Ogilvie, in her first international senior season, was strong at the start of her run but picked up three touches on the middle section to finish 23rd overall in 132.71
Reigning Olympic Champion Joe Clarke looked in great form in the semi final of the K1M, and despite picking up a two second penalty, was one of the quickest in the field.
But despite flying off to a fantastic start, demonstrating his trademark speed, Joe picked up too many penalties to make an impact on the podium places. With touches on gates three and four, Clarke absorbed the penalties and was still in the mix at the first time check, just 2.5 seconds down on the race leader Jiri Prskavec. However, another touch on gate 12 then three in the later stages of the course meant he eventually finished in eighth place overall.
Speaking on his day's racing, Joe said:
"I got a couple of early touches but then I just put too much effort in to try and reduce the deficit but then I picked up more which was frustrating.
“I’ve made it through to another final so overall I’m happy with my levels of consistency and I was pleased to qualify through this morning from 40 boats in the semi-finals, especially with a touch."
It’s all to play for now at the World Championships in Seu in a couple of weeks and I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing clean and hopefully winning a medal.– Joe Clarke
“The pressure will be on but this brings out the best in me.”
It was heartbreak for Bradley Forbes-Cryans and Chris Bowers in the semi-final of the K1M after both paddlers picked up 50 point penalties. Forbes-Cryans looked to be going into the lead as he came through the bottom part of the course having had a seemingly clean and fast run down in 92.45. However, the judges on gate 14 deemed him not to have had his whole head pass through the gate and the costly penalty was added to push him towards the bottom of the field.
Similarly Chris Bowers had a clean-looking run down and despite having to fight to keep his line in the mid-section of the course, looked to have done enough to secure his finals spot. With an asterisk added to the results as he crossed the line, after a short wait it was confirmed that he had not cleanly passed through gate 11 and a 50 second penalty was added to his time which had stood at 95.65.
They finished in 34th and 35th place respectively in 142.45 and 145.65
All the paddlers will be back in action in a few weeks as they head to La Seu d'Urgell, Spain for the Canoe Slalom World Championships, with the competition forming the final Olympic selection race for all four events.
Elsewhere in the extreme slalom World Championships, Junior World Champion Etienne Chappell was knocked out in the quarter finals of the men's kayak event. Having won two World Cups and the juniors already this season, Etienne looked strong in the early rounds of the competition, but got stuck on the backend of the course during the quarter finals to finish fourth in his round.
DAY 3 RESULTS SUMMARY
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) - SILVER
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) – Semi final 15th
Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) – Semi final 23rd
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) – Final 8th
Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) - Semi final 34th
Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone) - Semi final 35th