Great Britain ended the 2022 ICF Canoe & Extreme Slalom World Championships on a high with Joe Clarke and Kimberley Woods winning gold and silver in the Extreme Slalom.
With the final morning culminating in a fine bronze medal from Mallory Franklin in the C1, the new Olympic discipline was the focus of the final session in Augsburg, Germany.
Reigning World Champion Joe Clarke had all the expectation on his shoulders but on a course which suited his aggressive raw speed with a long run into the roll zone, Joe was able to power through each round of the Extreme Slalom.
Having come second in his first heat, Joe changed tactics, picking a new lane enabling him to keep out of trouble and dominate the rest of the world.
After disappointment in the K1,Joe was delighted with the win.
“I’m not doing quite as well as I might have hoped in the slalom, I have to rely then on the extreme to try and do the best I could,” Clarke said.
“Reigning world champion, there was a lot of pressure coming into it. So many emotions into one, a couple of bruises along the way, but fantastic.
“Obviously it’s getting fiercer and fiercer, you can see the difference from last year’s world championships to this year’s.
“The biggest problem I’ve got at the moment in my K1 is staying off the poles so in extreme you don’t need to worry about that too much. So it plays into my favour in that way.
“I know the raw pace is there, it’s the touches that are costing me at the moment, but the extreme we can hit the poles as much as we want as long as you get around them, so I guess that’s the aim of the game”.
Having achieved a lifetime best of fourth place in the C1 this morning Kimberley Woods backed up a great day at the office with silver in the Extreme Slalom.
She looked determined through the rounds and was aggressive throughout her paddling. She was a clear winner in each of the four rounds until the final, determined to keep out of trouble.
In the final she initially crossed the line in second, but celebrations were on hold as a fault was added to her result.
But, after a review it was deemed that she had put down a clean run and a delighted Kim was confirmed as the World Silver medallist, behind Australia's Jess Fox.
An ecstatic Kimberley said:
“It’s just incredible after this whole year I’ve had, this whole weekend has been great.
"Extreme Slalom is so tough and at the start of this course, I thought I might be able to attack Jess there but the water wasn’t quite with me.
“Extreme definitely suits me and I’m glad I can throw my strengths in it. When I first tried it, it wasn’t quite there but I’m so happy I managed to pull it off today
“I can finally stand on the podium.”
Unfortunately the two-time U23 World Championship Nikita Setchell of Holme Pierrepont was unable to progress after finishing fourth in heat 7.
Speaking at the end of the World Championships, Canoe Slalom Performance Director Mark Ratcliffe said:
"Racing across a few days is always tough, there’s ups and downs. Yesterday was not our best day overall but we bounced back today.
"The finals this morning in the slalom we had a brilliant bronze medal for Mallory, fourth for Kimberley and a final for Adam again, which was really pleasing.
"We just built into the afternoon We had three boats in the rounds and to come out with two medals, a brilliant gold for Joe and a silver for Kimberley is outstanding.
"Across all of the Olympic classes we have good potential in all events.
"We have shown that in the World Cups and to come out with three medals here, four finals in the slalom is really pleasing. But there are improvements to be made if we want to move onto that next step."
Extreme Slalom results
Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) - GOLD
Kimberley Woods (Rugby) - SILVER
Nikita Setchell (Holme Pierrepont) - Round of 32 - 4th (Heat 7)