Saturday’s course design was much more challenging compared to the one from qualifications. There were 25 gates and according to experts, it has been a long time since an ICF World Cup has used a “25 gate” design. It was challenging as well from the technical point of view. Spinning, a risky and difficult move in canoe slalom, was used a lot by the athletes on the Final course in order to keep up their speed.
The C1 Semi-Final was a good run for the French team, 23-year-old Marc Janathan together with Thibaut Vielliard and Tony Estanguet successfully qualified for the Final. On the other hand, David Florence (GBR), Cardiff’s gold medallist was not very happy with his run. He said “I got a fifty second penalty, so it was not a very good run. It just doesn’t go your way some days and it was a very hard course. I have the C2 qualification, so I still have something to go for here in Pau”.
The crowd’s favourite, Tony Estanguet (FRA), managed to stick to his game plan. He performed a fantastic clean run, and sprinted to the finish line some seven seconds ahead of his competitors, taking a first place finish in the Final. Poland’s Grzegorz Kiljanek, who is ranked twentieth in the world, found himself among some of the superstars in the sport. He placed second in the Final despite a two second time penalty on gate 9. The Cardiff’s and 2011 World Championships’ Bronze medallist, Alexander Slafkovsky, repeated history with a strong finish taking a third place finish in the Final. He commented,
Actually I didn’t feel very good with the course but the result is good for me. The gate setting was very difficult but I enjoyed it.
Peter Kauzer’s thirtieth place finish in the Semi-Final was the surprise of Men’s K1. In the latter section of the course he missed gate 21 and lost his chances at a Final run.
Etienne Daille (FRA), who came in eighth in the Semi-Final, continued to build up his season by taking the Final win here in Pau. He had a smooth run, and with the crowd cheering him on, grabbed the Gold medal. Czech Republic’s Jan Vondra, made his mark here as a senior athlete. He managed to keep his boat in the flow, and with a clean run got the second place Final finish. “My run wasn’t great but I didn’t give up, so it paid off and I’m so happy to be on the podium,” said Lucien Delfour (AUS) who came in third in the Final.
Rosalyn Lawrence (AUS) had a brilliant run in the Final course, but missing gate 9 landed her into sixth place. She was interviewed after her Semi-Final run, and said, “The course was quiet tricky. I had a pretty bad Semi’s run, but I think its definitely possible to have a respectable run for the Final on this course, and I’d really like to do that”.
French domination continued with Caroline Loir, she kept inside the time and despite of a four second time penalty, came in first in the Final. She said, “My run was very technical. I said to myself that I should take on some waves and avoid sticking in them”. Loir’s teammate, Claire Jacquet, showed a respectable Final performance; and with the crowd at her back, managed to get herself into a third place Final finish. The 2011 world champion, Slovakia’s Katerina Hoskova, was really taking the fight against the leader Caroline Loir, despite going quickly through gates, slipped a bit and landed a second place finish in the Final.
Women’s k1 and Men’s C2 Heats
The sun disappeared behind the clouds and the wind started to blow for Women’s k1 and Men’s C2 Heats. Qualification runs got underway and athletes got selected for Sunday’s Semi-Final races.