Britain’s under 23 athletes were amongst the medals this morning as Jonny Dickson and Chris Bowers won silver and bronze respectively at the 2021 junior and U23 canoe slalom World Championships in Tacen, Slovenia.
Almost two years since the last time the U23’s competed internationally, Jonny and Chris claimed second and third on the men’s K1 podium to win their first individual international medals.
It was Jonny Dickson who took to the final first after a great run in semi-finals. The 20 year old started to put a nice run together early on and was up at the first split. He continued to keep his composure and power to ensure his performance was clean. In his first U23 international competition, Jonny posted an 84.25 to put down a tough to beat performance, only bettered by Czech Republic’s Jakub Krejci to claim a fantastic silver medal.
Delighted to win the silver, Jonny said:
“I’m definitely overwhelmed by that performance. It certainly hasn’t sunk in yet. I think I am just really pleased to put down my best run of the competition in the final. I don’t think it was my best paddling, but it was certainly good enough to win the medal. I am delighted after being so close to a medal in my last year as a junior in Krakow in 2019.
It was great to back up what I have being doing in training and show the standard Great Britain have in this event.– Jonny Dickson
“It’s been a while since we’ve raced internationally, so the heats were great to get rid of those nerves. I have been working on winning a medal since I was 12, and having come so close as a junior, it gave me that extra drive to want it more. I have shown I have the consistency to win a medal. Hopefully this isn’t my last.”
Chris Bowers too took on the Slovenian course searching for his first individual medal in what is his final year in the U23 category, and signed off the World Championships with a well-deserved bronze.
Similar to his British teammate, he posted an extremely quick first split and actually went ahead of Jonny early on. He lost a bit of time in the middle of course around gate 13, but was still extremely quick on his run and finished with a time 84.55, just 0.3 seconds behind Jonny to secure third place.
Speaking on his first medal, Chris said:
“This medal has felt like a long time coming. It is my first individual medal. I’ve had success in the teams, but I’ve always just missed out as an individual whether that’s a penalty or a little mistake so it is great to put a full run together in the final.
“Being able to get on the start line with the senior team really helped with that experience and frame of mind.
A medal isn’t something I have thought about always when racing, but definitely have given it more thought during training and setting goals for the year so to finally get it was very nice.– Chris Bowers
“There’s some really good boats and really good depth within the event. This medal gives me loads of confidence to know the capability is there. I will get back and reset for the remained for the season.”
Ben Haylett ensured it was a full house of British boats in the men’s K1 final, but unfortunately finished down in ninth with a time of 93.59. The Holme Pierrepont athlete was super quick and would’ve been challenge at the top, but a series of touches meant he had eight seconds of penalties added to his time which took him out the running.
In the women’s K1 U23 semi-finals, Lois Leaver was extremely unlucky not be lining up in the final of the event, after finishing with a time of 100.27 and only 0.03 seconds behind that 10th place spot required. Her run was clean but just narrowly missed out in what was a stacked startlist.
Elsewhere, Phoebe Spicer and Nikita Setchell too were extremely quick on the course and looked to be challenging for a top ten spot, but two touches each meant they both missed out on a place in the next round, despite their raw pace being enough to progress.