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Medals galore for Britain on final day of slalom World Cup 2

Great Britain won a fantastic four medals across canoe slalom and extreme slalom on the final day of the slalom World Cup 2 in Krakow.

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Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) got the medal haul underway with gold in the women’s C1, whilst Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) swiftly followed with a fantastic bronze in the men’s C1. 

Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone) took home gold in the men’s extreme slalom later in the afternoon, with Joe Clarke MBE (Stafford & Stone) claiming his second medal of the weekend with bronze in the same event.

Celebrating her 28th birthday, Mallory put down an incredible performance during the women’s C1 final to win the gold medal and claim her fifth individual accolade of the 2022 season.

Qualifying through in sixth place, Mallory got her first ever final on the Krakow course off to a fantastic start. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medallist kept the boat moving nicely and was significantly up on the second split.

Her advantage was extended at the bottom of the course as she crossed the line in 103.31 to take the lead at the halfway point, despite a late touch added to gate 19 following a review.

There was a significant wait for Mallory with some impressive paddlers still to take on the final, including Olympic Champion Jess Fox, but Mallory’s time and performance was enough to claim the gold medal, over a second ahead of her nearest challenger in a final with no clean runs.

Speaking after the gold medal performance, she said: 

I’m delighted to win gold here. It’s my first senior final I've made in Krakow which is pretty surreal, but I am really happy with the run that I put down in the final. To come away with the win is great.

– Mallory Franklin
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“I was trying to focus on paddling like I normally would. To come away with the win is a big bonus.

“I’m trying to focus on myself each and every week and I am delighted with my season so far and how it has been going. I came into the season after moving coach and looking to develop my racing over the season, but it’s been going good so far.

“The gold medal is a great birthday gift. To win on your birthday is really cool and makes it that little bit more special.”

In the men’s C1 final, an impressive run from Adam Burgess claimed bronze and his first medal of the season in an extremely competitive final.

Second last to take on the final, Adam was chasing the time of 93.14 set by Nicolas Gestin of France, and it was looking good for the Tokyo 2020 Olympian.

Going into the first split, he was nearly a second up on Gestin, and that pace and form continued through the middle section too. 

His advantage was maintained through the second split, but the Stafford and Stone paddler just clipped the outside pole of upstream 22 to add two seconds to his time. He remained focussed to initially go second in 93.49. 

An impressive run from Benjamin Savsek did put Adam into third, but the British paddler was delighted with making the podium and coming away with a bronze medal.

“I’m really happy to win my first podium of the season. I’ve had to be patient after a really good winter. I knew a lot was possible this year. It’s a little bitter sweet as the win was there today and it escaped me on the last upstream. But to have the pace to be on the podium with a penalty is something I am really proud of.

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I 100% feel confident after this podium. There was a part of me that felt I needed to prove my pace on the start-lists, and today I feel I have done that. Right up until that last upstream I was feeling great and I don't think that touch made me faster. We can build from here.

– Adam Burgess

“It’s great that the World Cup races are so close together, getting opportunities to race and build on how you did previously. I worked so hard in training this week to make sure I was in the mix today, and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do next weekend.”

Ryan Westley was the second Brit to feature in the men’s C1 final and it was the 2018 World Championship silver medallist’s first international final in three years following a significant injury.

First off, he got the final off to a very nice start, showing good raw pace and cutting the lines really tight throughout the course. 

It looked to be a strong, clean run from the Lower Wharfe paddler, but after several reviews of his run, Ryan was awarded a two second penalty on gate 7, putting him in a time of 95.33. 

With a long wait to see his final position, Ryan concluded the World Cup in 7th place, a result that will no doubt fill him with confidence going into next weekend.

After both storming through the second runs on Friday afternoon, Sophie Ogilvie and Kimberley Woods both missed out on a place in the women’s C1 final this morning.

After winning run two yesterday, Sophie got off to a strong start during the first section of the course, but a touch on gate 7 meant the Scottish paddler had time to make up. Three further penalties on upstream 14, 19 and 20 just took the top 10 away from Sophie as she had to settle for 23rd.

Kimberley Woods also unfortunately didn’t make the top 10, despite a great start to her run and in touching distance of the blistering pace set by USA’s Evy Leibfarth at the first split.

It was around gate 11 that Kimberley lost a bit of time as she went deep into the upstream, before clipping gate 16 later on, giving the Rugby paddler too much to do in the bottom half as she slotted in behind Sophie in 24th.

Qualifying directly into the semi-finals for the first time in a senior competition, Peter Linksted didn't make the men’s C1 final, with an early penalty on gate 8 taking the 22 year-old out of contention.

The front of his boat also clipped gate 20, but certainly a performance Peter can be pleased with despite sitting outside of the final in 25th with a time of 102.40.

The afternoon racing saw Extreme slalom take to the course, and the medals kept coming for the British team.

The men’s final was represented by three British athletes, with Chris Bowers, Joe Clarke and Etienne Chappell (Seren Dwr) all lining up on the ramp. 

It was Chris Bowers who came out on top in the final, taking home gold and winning his first medal in the event making its debut at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The Stafford and Stone paddler got off to a fantastic start off the ramp along with Joe, and managed to get clear water between himself and the chasing packs after choosing the left upstream gate with the rest going right.

From there it was all about Chris keeping his cool as he crossed the line ahead of the other three athletes to win gold.

He said:

It’s awesome to win gold in the extreme slalom here. I feel like I missed out in the canoe slalom yesterday. The extreme is now a new opportunity for me which I’m embracing and managed to get the win which is great.

– Chris Bowers

“Having three Brits in the final shows how strong the team is. It was cool to race against them. We all know we all have pace and proving it again here today.

“I’m going to constantly be learning from each race. The medal is fantastic but I will take what I have learnt into the next one. 

“The team has done lots of good stuff this weekend. It’s great to see everyone striving and putting some great runs down.”

Following on from his silver medal in the canoe slalom yesterday, Joe Clarke MBE had looked to have secured his second silver after getting caught up in the first upstream.

He got into a bit of trouble around the second upstream however, which saw him miss the gate and take a fault and despite crossing the line second, it was bronze that the 2021 World Champion claimed.

It wasn’t to be for Etienne Chappell who showed impressive pace throughout the rounds to get into the final, but the 2019 junior World Champion missed the first upstream gate which resulted in the fourth place finish overall.

Bradley Forbes-Cryans was unfortunate not to make the semi-final as he lined up in the same quarter-final as Chris, but the CR Cats paddler ended up third in their quarter-final as he just missed out on qualification to Olympic Champion Jiri Prskavec.

In the women’s event, it was Kimberley Woods who progressed furthest out of the four British athletes who qualified for today’s heats.

Kimberley showed some impressive paddling throughout the rounds, including a race win in the quarter-finals, but she was unfortunate to miss out on a spot in the final as she came fourth in her semi-final after being crowded out early before flipping the boat around the first upstream gate.

Megean Hamer-Evans showed some strong paddling to win her heat, but it was a tough quarter-final for the Seren Dwr paddler as she missed out on the semi-finals in third place.

It wasn’t to be for U23 World Champion Nikita Setchell and Mallory Franklin, who already has extreme slalom medals to her name this season. After strong runs in the time-trials yesterday, the pair failed to finish in the top two of their heats and didn’t progress to the quarter-finals.

The team now move on to the third World Cup, with Tacen playing host next weekend.

Performance director Mark Ratcliffe was delighted with the performances in Krakow.

He said: “This weekend felt like a real step on from last weekend. I said to the team it’s a familiar venue to our own in many ways. 

“There were a lot of excellent performances across the weekend, and some excellent pace shown even when finals weren’t achieved, such as Chris and Bradley. They were quick enough to medal, let alone make the final.

“Massive well done to Joe who was excellent this weekend. Mallory winning gold was great, seeing her build through the semi-final and into the final, and some really promising signs throughout.

“Adam knows his pace is in there, and to make the podium this weekend was incredible and it was almost gold too.

“Extreme is a new event, but all eight boats making it through the time-trials is fantastic to see. Three men in the final and two podiums was amazing. 

“It’s always about building. The athletes will take what they’ve learnt this weekend into Tacen next weekend as we build towards the Worlds in July.”

Sunday’s results:

Women’s C1 Final

Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) - GOLD

Kimberley Woods (Rugby) - 23rd

Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats)  - 24th 

Men’s C1 Semi-final

Adam Burgess (Stafford & Stone) – BRONZE

Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) – 7th

Peter Linksted (Stirling & Falkirk) – 25th

Extreme Slalom Women

Kimberley Woods (Rugby) - 4th in semi-final

Megan Hamer-Evans (Seren Dwr) - 3rd in quarter- final

Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) - 4th in heat

Nikita Setchell (Holme Pierrepont CC) - 3rd in heat 

Extreme Slalom Men

Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone)- GOLD

Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone)- BRONZE

Etienne Chappell (Seren Dwr) - 4th

Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats) - 3rd in quarter-final

All of the results and replays of the weekend’s racing can be found on the ICF website:

https://www.canoeicf.com/