Powered in part by a partisan host country crowd, Martin Halcin (SVK) made waves today by coming out on top at the end of the first run of the K1 Men's Heat on the first day of the International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Halcin saw his lead stand up all the way until the final 20 men in took their second run in the K1 Men's Heat. The first to chip at Halcin's lead was Mateusz Polaczyk (POL) who recorded the first sub-88-second time. Nine paddlers later, reigning Olympic champ Alexander Grimm (GER) shaved 0.05 seconds off Polaczyk's blistering time to finish with a 87.94 that held up through the rest of the second runs.
Grimm said it's tough to beat the Slovaks on their home course but felt like he has the consistency to continue to deliver all the way through to the final.
The rest of the Top Five was rounded out by reigning World Champ Daniele Molmenti (ITA) in fourth and Vavrinec Kradlilek (CZE) in fifth. Surprisingly, second-ranked Peter Kauzer (SLO), the 2009 Wolrd Champ and 2010 European Champion finished in 11th place.
Molmenti, who knows the course well, first racing here a decade ago, said he pushed a little more in the second run and thinks the key to winning on Sunday will be to just replicate the feeling he had on the course this afternoon.
World Championship action continues tomorrow when new C2 Men and K1 Women champs will be crowned by midday. In the afternoon, Heats of C1 Men and Women will be contested.