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Silver lining for British pair on third day of Slalom World Cup

Triple Olympic Silver medallist David Florence finished second in the men’s C1 before Fiona Pennie took silver in the Extreme Slalom at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Prague. 

Prague Silvers

Tokyo-bound Adam Burgess was set to join his teammate on the podium but a retrospective 50-second penalty for missing a gate saw him bumped from third to ninth in one of the last major races before the Olympics.

And in the women’s C1, Mallory Franklin suffered her own podium heartbreak after taking fourth with a time of 111.57, despite having won the semi-final.

David, whose time of 97.44 was only 0.24 seconds behind Czech winner Lukas Rohan, said: “It feels really, really good, to be honest. It has been a strange time with Covid and it was tough missing out on the Olympic place.

“But it’s just really good to be back paddling how I feel I’m capable of and to get on the podium in second - pretty close to the gold - I'm so happy with it, delighted.”

The 38-year-old only snuck into the final in the last qualifying spot and added: “I thought I was really lucky to get into the final - sometimes it goes your way.

“I actually thought I was going to beat the Czech guy Rohan but he just pipped me at the line.

“After that we were so close, I thought everyone was going to go just in front of us or just behind us and luckily for me it was the latter.”

Fiona, 38, blitzed her way through the Extreme Slalom - which will be introduced to the Olympics at Paris 2024 - only to narrowly miss out on the win in the final to Austrian Corinna Kuhnle.

The experienced paddler endured a disappointing day two, finishing 29th in the K1, but returned on day three to make her debut in the new all-action discipline.

She won her heat, quarter and semi-final but had no answer when Corinna overtook her early in the showpiece race.

Fiona said: “It was pretty good; I’ve never done Extreme before but after I watched it, I thought ‘I might be OK at this’.

“In the final I had a good start, but I got pushed out of the way and I didn’t know whether to push her out the way and go for gold, but we might both end out of the game.

“I decided to settle for second place because I saw the Russian girl coming behind me.

“I was really disappointed yesterday after so many good results in Prague in the past but to bounce back and have something good to walk away with pride with was really good.”

Despite slipping up and missing gate six, C1 athlete Adam believes things are looking good ahead of his Olympic debut next month.

The 28-year-old said: “I’m really happy with the pace that I’ve shown, two international races so far, and I’m feeling fast, and I think making it look quite easy as well.

“It feels comfortable for me to be on that pace so building towards Tokyo I think it’s looking really good.

“My error today wasn't really a mistake; I didn’t feel like I was rushing or trying to push the lines too tight. 

“I felt I had the room, but I just misjudged how much the wave would give me and a bit of that comes with knowledge of the course and spending time on the river.

“I’m happy everything is in place, but it was like the one that got away today a little bit. I had a good feeling about it but not to be.”

Mallory, 26, is also part of the Team GB squad selected for the delayed Games and was disappointed to come unstuck late on while tackling a tricky course in the Czech Republic.

She said: “It’s a really tough course, it was always going to ask for quite a lot. The semi was quite tight, but no-one really put a good run down.

“In the final there were results all over the place.

“It’s never nice coming fourth but I was really proud with the majority of my paddling. I just made a little mistake at the bottom, and it cost me.”

Teenager Sophie Ogilvie finished 26th in the women’s C1 semi-final before crashing out in the heats of the fast and furious Extreme Slalom with an RLF.

While Olympic champion Joe Clarke, who finished fourth in the K1 on day two, made it to the semi-final of the men’s Extreme Slalom. 

The full results can be found here: https://www.canoeicf.com/canoe-slalom-world-cup/prague-2021/results  

Results 

C1W

Mallory Franklin 1st in semi-final and 4th in final

Sophie Ogilvie 26th in semi-final

C1M

David Florence 10th in semi-final and 2nd in final

Adam Burgess 3rd in semi-final and 9th in final 

Women’s Extreme Slalom 

Fiona Pennie 1st in heat, 1st in quarter-final, 1st in semi-final, 2nd in final

Sophie Ogilvie RLF in heat

Men’s Extreme Slalom 

Joe Clarke 2nd in heat, 1st in quarter-final, 3rd in semi-final