Bethan Forrow was crowned U23 World Champion in the C1 today after a blistering run at the Tacen Slalom Course in Slovenia.
Having been off the international circuit for almost two years due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, Forrow was in fine form and extremely composed putting an early touch on gate 3 behind her, to fly through the middle section of the course, and powered through the final few gates to finish almost a second clear of her nearest rival.
The Cheshunt local, who was inspired to start canoeing through the London 2012 Legacy Programme, finished in 8th place at the Senior World Championships in 2018 and won the bronze medal in the 2019 Junior European Championships.
Keeping her nerve in Tacen, she says, was key to topping the international podium for the first time in her career.
“I’m speechless. It’s been a crazy weekend, and the girls have not made it easy at all,” she said.
“I tried not to let my nerves get the better of me and just enjoy being back on the start line.
“I told myself to keep calm, I knew that there was a lot of time to be made up at the bottom of the course. In canoeing you don’t know what anyone else has done so I just fought right through to the end.
“With Covid it’s been two years since we’ve been on the international start line, so I think the whole team was eager to get back out here and show what we’ve been working on and it’s been amazing, I’ve absolutely loved paddling in Tacen.”
Compatriot Ellis Miller was ninth overall after an impressive run in her first U23 international event.
She was fearless in the first half of the race and looked confident going into the second split but three consecutive touches on gates 17, 18 and 19 put the podium out of reach.
She was pleased with her first international final in almost two years.
“It was great to make the final, I thought I started well but it just unravelled at bit at the bottom of the course which was a shame.
“In the back of my mind I knew I was going well. I’ve had a great week of training leading up to the start of the competition and I felt really good on the water as I’ve raced here before but I had no real expectations on today so I’m pleased.
“I’m really grateful to have this chance to race, my first international race in two years and my first in the U23 age group.”
And the Broxbourne local was delighted to watch her friend and teammate coming home with the gold.
“We’ve got such a great group of C1 paddlers at Lee Valley and I’m so proud of my best friend and teammate Beth. I watched her run from the bottom of the course, and I’m so proud of her, World Champion.”
CR Cats’ Sophie Ogilvie was in action in the semi-finals and put in a solid run down but a late touch on gate 17 meant she finished in 15th place overall, an improvement on her last U23 World Championships outing.
In the men’s event, the British trio of Kurts Rozentals, Peter Linksted and Vittorio Pezzaioli were all in action in the U23 C1 Men’s semi-finals.
Clean runs from Kurts and Peter saw them finish in 15th and 17th place respectively with Vittorio picking up a couple of touches putting him in 27th place overall.
The teams are back in action tomorrow with a full day of Extreme Slalom action which can be followed live here: https://www.canoeicf.com/
Full schedule, start lists and live results can be found here:
Extreme Slalom start times:
0801 Jonny Dixon
0823 Chris Bowers
0845 Peter Linksted
0981 Ben Haylett
0958 Phoebe Spicer
1007 Sophie Ogilvie
1017 Nikita Setchell
1036 Lois Leaver
Bethan Forrow - (100.62) 1st World Champion
Ellis Miller - (110.83) 9th place
Sophie Ogilvie - (109.65) 15th place semi-final.
Kurts Adams Rozentals – (94.30) 15th place overall
Peter Linksted – (94.82) 17th place overall
Vittorio Pezzaioli– (110.21) 27th place overall