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Team gold on first day of Canoe Slalom World Championships

The British Women’s K1 team stormed to team gold to retain their world title from 2019 on day one of the World Championships in Bratislava.

Kim Mall Fiona

Fiona Pennie, Mallory Franklin and Kimberley Woods were last to paddle but surged into first place with a clean run of 101.24s in the Slovakian capital.

The experienced trio, who were also crowned European champions this year, finished over five seconds clear of nearest challengers the Czech Republic to get the event off to a flying start for the British team in the very first race.

“The whole experience was really good, we came together as a team again we had a little bit of pressure but we really enjoyed it out there,” said Kimberley (Rugby), who came tenth in the individual K1 at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“We know how each other paddle and have a lot of trust and confidence that we can stay out of each other’s way. 

“We were probably the most fortunate class - as the day went on the wind picked up and you saw penalties coming more often so we were quite lucky in that sense.”

Fiona (CR Cats) suggested the bond the women have was crucial to their win and said: “It was quite a relief to win and pleasing to do it again. We managed to keep the run flowing, gate 1 was a little bit sticky but after that it was pretty good.

“We all know each other pretty well now in our team, so we knew exactly what each other would be thinking and doing.

“We knew that anything was possible to happen on the course and we were fortunate that we didn’t have any big errors and we managed to overcome any little errors to bring down the fastest run.”

Mallory (Windsor) was pleased with the team’s consistency and said: “It was a bit weird being back in teams and racing again but it was cool, and it was a really nice run and nice to be able to get that result and come away with a medal.

“It was really cool to produce those levels of paddling consistently as a team, we’ve been racing together for quite a while now and are quite settled.”

Mallory and Kimberley were close to making it two podiums from as many races on Wednesday but alongside Bethan Forrow narrowly missed out on bronze in the C1.

They took fourth in 118.33s after clocking six seconds worth of penalties and finished just 0.28s off third place.

“It was disappointing to come 4th but just getting in the C1 position of kneeling down was tough, it’s a hard course for C1 and we hadn’t raced together as a team since 2018 but we will keep our heads up for the individuals,” explained Kimberley.

It was another near miss in the men’s K1 as Chris Bowers, Bradley Forbes-Cryans and Joe Clarke took fifth spot in 96.92s, only 2.08s outside a podium place.

While in the men’s C1, the trio of David Florence, Adam Burgess and Peter Linksted came unstuck after picking up ten seconds of penalties, finishing tenth in 109.69s.

Speaking at the end of the first day of Canoe Slalom action, head coach Mark Ratcliffe said: “It was an excellent run and a really good performance from the [K1] women, a real chunk up on the field. 

“A couple got away from us with penalties and it’s quite cold and a bit blustery. We had an unfortunate one in the C1 with a pole blowing onto Beth which cost us a medal. 

“Time-wise we would have been on for a podium place, so it has been encouraging for the individual events.” 

For the third time the Wildwater World Championships are being contested alongside the Canoe Slalom races and the British trio of Robert Jeffries, Freddie Brown and Jacob Holmes took 7th in the Men’s K1 team final.

A slice of bad luck took Jacob’s boat towards the eddy but the team recovered to register a time of 75.71 and avoid disqualification.

“Our lines were great for the top section, we had a really good start, but unfortunately one wrong stroke on the middle trot sent Jacob into the eddy but this course is a really difficult course, and we knew that would happen at some point to someone,” said Robert.

“We know we can race the course quite hard but also stick on a very clean line so if we transfer that into our individual runs we should be in with a good shout of getting into finals.”