Germany’s Philipp Hitzigrath looped to the top of European Open Canoeing. Claire O’Hara took the European Champions title in women’s squirt. In K1 women’s the reigning world-champ caused the biggest surprise today: she missed tomorrow’s finals!
At the ECA European Freestyle Championship in Lienz (Austria) the first decisions were made today. In a stunning parade of mystery and trophy moves, screwing and stalling, Claire O’Hara (GBR) showed her challengers what real squirting is about: scoring 1.072 points she is more than 800 points ahead of runner up Eva Filová (SVK). „It was a really good afternoon”, said the happy champion. “I managed to get quite a high score and hopefully I beat the boys tomorrow!” Young Nuria Fontané (ESP) became 3rd, followed by Andrea Kaspers (GER) and Lucie Horka (CZE).
Second final today was the OC1’s: Germany’s Philipp Hitzigrath scored a perfect loop in his 1st run putting him uncatchable to the lead. Ranked 2nd is Spain’s Aitor Goikoetxea (ESP), who also managed to loop his open boat, but couldn’t convince the judges. 3rd place goes to Paul King (GBR), followed by Tobias Hüther (GER) and Josh Wedgwood (GBR). The latter showed some classic OC1 action by swimming out the hole AND jumping back into the boat again to have yet another go. What a show!
The K1 men started off Friday’s competition programme with their quarter final, in which the two better rides out of three would count: a real challenge to physical and mental fitness. Britain’s James Weight, 2nd in the prelims, got more and more confident in the Drava hole each ride and set this morning’s high-score of 876,667 points in his final run. The lead!. Placed 2nd was prelim-winner Sebastien Devred (FRA), followed by defending European champion Peter Csonka (SVK).
In the afternoon the K1 men were again called onto the Drava for their semi final, mixing it all up again. In his first run Britain’s reigning world champion James “Pringle” Bebbington finally showed in a stunning freestyle-show, that he isn’t holding his title for no reason. Combining high-score-moves he scored 930 points, putting him to the lead. Truly outstanding was the performance of runner up Peter Csonka (SVK): The defending European champion is suffering from a muscle injury, visibly causing him pain in every move. Nonetheless Csonka is just 15,333 points back of Pringle and surly tough enough to bite through once more. In tomorrows finals also Sebastien Devred (FRA), Joaquím Fontané (ESP) and James Weight (GBR) will compete.
“That’s gonna be interesting”: MC Arnd Schaeftlein’s conclusion after the K1 women’s semi final brought it to the point. None of the women could show an outstanding ride today, least of all reigning world champion Claire O’Hara, who ended up on 7th place in the final ranking. “I did’t do any moves”, says O’Hara, after being asked what happened. “It was a disaster. I had my game-plan and everything was good but then it just didn’t go right for today. But all the same I learnt from it and come back stronger next time.”
Defending her lead Marléne Devilez (FRA) scored 280 points in her second run. Runner up, showing two solid rides, is Maria Lindgren (SWE), just 23,333 points ahead of Norway’s Kari Olnes. Again just 3,333 points back is Nina Csonkova (SVK) closely followed by Tora Heggem of Norway. All five ladies lay within 110 points so it’s all open who will make it to the top tomorrow.
No big surprise is the leader after the K1 junior men’s semi final: Britain’s super- strong junior Bren Orton defied his lead way ahead of his team-mate James Benns. Sam Stephenson (GBR) took 3rd position, followed by Sindre Slalien (NOR) and Lane De Meulanaere (BEL). In the C1 semi final Aitor Goikotxea (ESP) took the lead, followed by Lukas Cervinka (CZE), Sören Kohnert (GER), Philipp Hitzigrath (GER) and Jan Choutka (CZE).
The remaining finals in Squirt Men, K1 junior women, K1 junior men, K1 women and K1 men take of tomorrow, Saturday, starting at 10 o’clock.
For results, photos, tweets and more see www.euro-lienz.com.
Videos. Short video clips of the Euro are ready to be embedded via Youtube:
- Day 3 Wrap: http://youtube/Dzlbudjypg0
- Interview with Bartosz Czauderna from Poland: http://youtube/IYUbRgpAOqE
- Day 2 Wrap: http://youtube/YNk2htGMRHM
- Day 1 & meet the athletes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIf4mqHRL_o
- Trailer: http://youtu.be/_9aSe0fFK98
- Interview Nuria Fontane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKDy8kMT0ws
- Interview Claire O'Hara: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyTodZSyztg
- Interview James Bebbington: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2eePR7YAk0