Top athletes were in action today as the senior, u23 and junior extreme slalom selection event took place at a sun-soaked Lee Valley White Water Centre.
Over 40 paddlers from a range of disciplines competed for places on the junior, U23 and senior extreme slalom teams, with just one boat spot per event available for a whole host of ICF competitions during the 2022 season, including the World Championships in Augsburg, Germany.
Athletes battled it out in a time-trial format, with the best time of two runs on the Lee Valley course counting towards the selection process. Competitors were required to navigate seven gates on the tough Olympic course, as well as a roll midway down.
Extreme slalom first appeared on the International Canoe Federation’s (ICF) World Cup programme in 2015, and was part of the 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships in Pau and has since been announced for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in just two years time.
It was 2021 Extreme Slalom World Champion Joe Clarke who topped the standings in the men’s event, posting his fastest, blistering time of 55.19.
Already pre-selected in the event after his selection onto the senior slalom team, Joe has had a good amount of experience in the discipline since it was announced for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and is looking to make his mark once again this season.
Tokyo 2020 Olympian Bradley Forbes-Cryans took second in the overall standings, 0.76 behind Clarke, whilst Chris Bowers was third, with the pair also pre-selected.
Ben Haylett put himself in strong contention for a place on the senior circuit in the extreme slalom discipline with a fourth place finish in the standings, whilst also claiming top U23 boat.
It was Ben Brown who was the fasted finishing junior paddler, posting his quickest time of 61.89.
In the women’s event, Kimberley Woods topped the standings with a best time of 59.06 from her two runs. The Rugby paddler is already pre-selected for the event after qualifying in the kayak event for canoe slalom, but is pleased with how she raced on the Lee Valley course as she looks to gain more race exposure in the event.
Nikita Setchell put herself in strong contention for a place in the extreme slalom senior team after finishing second in the overall standings, as well as top U23 boat. Nikita has good experience in the discipline having claimed the U23 World title in 2021, despite it being her first race at the time.
She has since competed in a number of international competitions and is hoping to get more race action in the 2022 season.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist Mallory Franklin took third in the overall standings, just a narrow 0.04 seconds behind Nikita.
Lee Valley paddler Hannah Rhodes’ time of 68.72 meant she was the fastest junior in the women’s event.