Rafting was the real winner after the 2012 Youth and Masters World Championships came to a conclusion, following the last of four disciplines, the ‘Downriver’ being raced along the Vltava River today.
The course started in Vyssi Brod, with the four man raft teams paddling their way across the remotely flat waters for 8-10km in perfect conditions, finishing in the small Czech town of Rozmberg.
The Czechs dominated once again claiming three World Titles in downriver, while the Russian girls made it back to back victories in the Youth category following victory in the Slalom on Sunday at Ceske Budejovice.
The morning commenced with the Youth men’s race, with the local crew of Antonin Hales, Ondrej Rolenc, Martin Novak and Radek Pavlik cruising to victory. After an aggressive start the paddlers saw opening a sizeable gap and they never looked back, motoring on to Rozmberg in emphatic fashion, securing the ‘Full house’ and becoming Youth World Champions.
The team was clearly delighted when they crossed the finish, “It was a fantastic result, like a dream,” said Captain Antonin Hales.
Hales said their great start allowed them to execute their race plan of being the first team to the first weir and from there they controlled the race.
For us we wanted to be first on the start, but didn’t want to get into a fight for position with other teams because it really takes a lot of power.
While the Czechs were clearly out in front, there was a close and contentious battle for the podium spots behind them, with the Russians, Italians and Brazilians changing positions several times throughout the race.
The Brazilians won the battle to the line for second, but were disqualified promoting Russia and Italy to second and third, with the final World Championships points table finishing in the same order.
Russia triumphed in the women’s youth class, becoming World Champions in the process and adding to the Slalom victory they recorded on Sunday.
The Moscow crew of Anastasia Lipenkova, Alena Travkina, Nadezda Zhirikova and Ekaterina Teslyuchenko, got off to an aggressive start, battling with Brazilians at the start before settling into a rhythm.
They trailed the Brazilians and Czechs at the half way point before powering home in the second half of the race to secure the gold ahead of the local favourites and South American rivals.
“In the second part of the race we said, if we can do it in slalom why, can’t we do it right now,” said Zhirikova.
“So we collected all our power and focused on paddling on the right course and in the right position and we have done it.”
18 year old Czech captain Tereza Krausova was proud of the team’s performance, finishing second overall after winning the Sprint and Head to Head disciplines. “It is our first big competition so it is a very good result for us.” The girls hope to qualify for next year’s World Championships in New Zealand.
The Masters categories were once again dominated by the Czech teams, with both the men and women winning all four disciplines and securing World Championships statuses.
The local Czech crew got off to a blistering start in the men’s race, opening up a boat length lead in the first 50 metres, before extending their lead through every kilometre to secure the gold ahead of Russia and Latvia.
Many of the younger athletes including Czech Youth captain Antonin Hales will back up and compete at the European Championships starting in Lipno, Czech Republic on Thursday.
European Rafting Championship, Lipno 2012: www.erc2012.com
2013 IRF White Water Rafting World Championships, New Zealand: www.facebook.com/2013WhiteWaterRaftingWorldsNZ