The British teams shone on day two of the 2021 ECA canoe slalom European Championships in Ivrea with GB securing one gold, one silver and one bronze medal from the three team events.
The strength in depth was demonstrated once again with all three teams taking part securing a podium finish, alongside some solid individual performances from the canoe events in the morning.
Great Britain’s K1 women got the afternoon off to the best possible start in Ivrea, winning gold to build on the World Championship title they claimed during their last race in 2019.
It was the same team today that triumphed out in La Seu, as Fiona Pennie led the way with Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods following in behind.
The experience showed from the trio as their teamwork crossing between the gates combined well with their strong pace. It was just one penalty touch on gate six that stopped it from being a clean run, but they finished in a time of 105.79, over two seconds ahead of Austria in the silver medal position.
All three athletes were delighted with how they got on today. Kimberley said:
“It was great to come back and race together again as a team. The last K1W race we did as a team we won gold at the World Championships. We just wanted to enjoy it, and was awesome to get another go at the course.
To have another podium and another medal is so pleasing.– Kimberley Woods
“For me personally I haven’t paddled kayak out here as I’m focusing on C1 ahead of the Olympics, so I didn’t know how I would get on personally. But it was great and shows how tight we are as a team and the work we have done together. We all moved so quickly individually so it just came together really well.
“I think it shows the British team are really robust and are so good at adapting in the moment and operating with our plans.”
Despite 15 years’ experience on the canoe slalom circuit, this is the first time Fiona Pennie has competed at the Italian course, and she is pleased with adding the European title to the World title won 19 months ago.
It is great to add the European Championship title to the World Championship title. It was a pretty tense wait as we were early off to go down the course. It was a nervous wait as we saw really fast splits at the top.”– Fiona Pennie
There was also medal success for the men’s K1 team of Joe Clarke, Bradley Forbes-Cryans and Chris Bowers as they came away with their first team medal since the 2018 World Championships with an excellent bronze against a strong field.
The trio went down early doors and posted a strong time of 90.85 with just one touch on gate 7, and they had a long wait to see if their run was enough for the podium. It was just the Czech and German teams that nipped in ahead of the British side meaning bronze was the final result and a pleasing start to the season for all three athletes.
Pleased with how they performed as a team, Joe said: “I’m really happy with how we worked as a team to come out with a bronze. It is a great result, we did a solid run with some really good parts in there so bodes well for the rest of the season for all of us.
It was just really exciting to put down a good performance. We still have a lot of racing to go so will hopefully give us all a confidence boost going into the individuals.– Joe Clarke
“It is a privilege to be out here and taking part in the competition.”
Bradley added: “It felt good to deliver that run there and come away with a medal.
“I think it shows how good Great Britain are with the strong paddlers we have got. We can adapt and we did that well today.
Chris Bowers said: “It’s really nice to get the medal early on. I was disappointed to get my touch but it is nice to get the medal on the board in our first race back in such a long time.
“It is always great to race with Bradley and Joe. We have had quite a few years on the team together now, so we all pretty used to racing together now. We all knew where each other needed to be which definitely helps us deliver a strong run.”
And the women’s C1 side made it a hat trick of medals in the teams as Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods regrouped to join forces with Sophie Ogilvie and claim a silver medal, making it the fifth consecutive year the women’s C1 team event have medaled at a European Championships they’ve competed in.
It was a solid display from the trio with just one touch on gate six meaning they posted a time of 116.51, four seconds behind winners Slovakia.
“The strength of the women’s teams in Britain was shown today in the teams’ event with gold and silver. It was very much having to adapt to those around you, but we were very adaptable to each other. Hats off to the Slovakian team in the C1 because they’ve done an excellent run there.”
“I’m really chuffed with the performance in the teams. We went out just to deliver a simple plan and we did that as a team. As a whole, I am really pleased with that and it is nice to come away with a silver medal.
“We’ve been a really strong team in the C1W for years now and despite not racing for 18 months we’ve come back and shown how good we can be with a medal winning run.”
In the individual events, another four athletes progressed through to the semi-finals as day two saw the turn of the canoe boats take to course in Ivrea.
Mallory Franklin (Windsor) stood out in the women’s C1 heats, putting an impressively quick performance to qualify in top spot with over four seconds separating herself and Czech athlete Gabriela Satkova.
Wearing the number one bib for the competition, Mallory looked sharp from the start, navigating what is a tricky course in Italy, and went ahead on both splits, before finishing with a clean run of 92.09.
It is the first international event for Mallory since qualifying for the Tokyo Olympic Games later this summer, and she is pleased with how she performance on the return to competitions.
It’s great to finish the first heats in the top spot. I was definitely nervous coming into it, not having raced in a long time. I would say there were mistakes in my run, but to be able to hold a run together and it to have that pace and come out in first place is really cool and definitely positive looking at the rest of the racing.– Mallory Franklin
“You get into the rhythm of racing again quite quickly. The atmosphere really helped shift into a race rather than training.
Joining Mallory in Sunday’s semi-finals is Rugby’s Kimberley Woods, fresh from her K1 qualification yesterday.
It was a strong run from Kimberley who was in touching distance of top spot at both splits, but trouble in and around gate 19 meant she lost time and ended up finishing in 103.92 to occupy 11th place.
Unfortunately Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) was unable to make it three out of three C1W boats in Sunday’s semi-final on her second senior European Championships. Six touches on her first run meant a 26th place finish and the need for run two, where Sophie’s pace was certainly there as shown in both splits, but missing gate 18 meant the Scottish athlete missed out on a top 10 finish in 14th.
In the men’s C1, selected Tokyo Olympian Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) once again showed the fine form he produced across the 2019 season and started 2021 strongly with an impressive performance in the first heat.
He stormed down the course with intent and again was quick at the splits, but a touch on the backend of the course on gate 19 meant he finished in 6th place with a time of 84.56, the second quickest raw time of the field.
Pleased with his return to competition, Adam said:
I am really happy to know that I’m still there or there abouts amongst the C1 field. It was the second quickest raw time of the day. Just a really solid heats performance that I have wanted to work on.– Adam Burgess
“I didn’t take all the opportunities to show my best, so there is certainly more in there. I am just happy to show discipline first time round.
“We have been so lucky to train at Lee Valley and whilst I have not raced, I have trained the skill of racing pretty much on a daily basis so I felt immediately at home again on the course.”
Going into his 20th consecutive season on the senior team, David Florence showed yet another strong showing on the international stage. The three time World Champion went directly after his British teammate, and was showing similar times early on, but a glance of gate 13 and tackling that tricky lower half of the course put him into 15th place with a time of 87.25 and safely though to Sunday’s semi-final with Adam.
DAY 2 RESULTS SUMMARY
Women’s C1 Heats
Mallory Franklin (Windsor) Heats 1st Run 1st & qualifies for semi-final on Sunday
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) - Heats 1st Run 11th & qualifies for semi-final on Sunday
Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats) – Heats 1st Run 26th; 2nd run 14th
Men’s C1 Heats
Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) – Heats 1st Run 6th and qualifies for semi final on Sunday
David Florence (Lloyds Register) – Heats 1st Run 15th and qualifies for semi final on Sunday
Women’s K1 Team: 1st GOLD
Women's C1 Team: 2nd SILVER
Men's K1 Team: 3rd BRONZE