Prelims take off at the European Freestyle Championships in Lienz Austria on Wednesday. OC1, K1 junior men, K1 Women and C1 unisex start their competitions. After the second nations training, the ladies drew different conclusions about the challenging hole on the Drava.
As the second training-day at the European Freestyle Championships in Lienz/Austria has gone to an end, expectations are high at the K1 Ladies for tomorrow’s prelims. “I like the hole when the water is low, but when it is as high as it is now, it is even better!”, says Sweden’s Maria Lindgren after a successful training session. “It is challenging to get the tricks and you really have to concentrate to score the moves. I think, at this conditions only the best one can win.” According to Maria chances are high, that the “best one” will be double world-champion Claire O’Hara from Great Britain. “I’d bet money on her”, says Maria, who is herself a keen candidate for top-scores.
Also Anne Hübner from Germany has a good chance to make it to the finals, provided “I score a good ride. The hole is very difficult at this water level – at the left it’s a nice hole but on the right it is more like a nasty tow-back. Once you are stuck in there, you really need to fight to get back going. I think chances are 50:50 that it works out well for me.” Paula Gruber (AUT) is in for the host-nation tomorrow. Her goal: To score some points and beat at least one of her competitors. “The hole is mean and frightening, which is actually quite good: every time I do a trick, I am even happier and get more confident.”
Tomorrows competitions start at 10 o’clock with open canoe, followed by K1 junior men, K1 women and C1 unisex. Last competition will be squirt men, where the glittery side in canoeing is getting a go. Eleven athletes will twirl down the Drava, either in shiny squirt- kayaks trying to score as much mystery-bonus as possible, or in ordinary freestyle kayaks, showing their best in the hole.