Fox posts one of her best ever to secure K1/C1 slalom double
19 February 2017
CANOE/KAYAK -SLALOM: Two-time Olympic medallist Jessica Fox has posted one of her best runs ever on her local Penrith course to win the women’s K1 canoe slalom gold at the Australian Open, adding to the C1 title she won 24 hours earlier.
Despite picking up an early two second penalty for a gate touch, Fox sizzled through the back half of the course to post a time of 96:56 seconds, six seconds ahead of Czech World Champion Katerina Kudejova, with Olympic silver medallist, Luuka Jones of New Zealand, 0:58 further back in third place.
“I think that was one of my best runs on this course to date,” Fox said.
“I think having done the C1 yesterday motivated me a bit. It’s always a physical demand on your body, and emotionally, when you are doing two events.
“This was a good field. There was a lot at stake, so I was happy to race freely and attack it the way the men paddle.”
In the men’s C1, veteran David Florence almost missed making the final, but scraped in as the last qualifier and then set a cracking 95:78 which proved too much for the rest of the field to catch.
Florence, the two-time World Champion, took the gold from fellow Great Britain paddler, Ryan Westley, with Slovakia’s Olympic silver medallist, Matus Benuj, finishing third.
19-year-old Tristan Carter was Australia’s only entry in the C1 final after posting a fast semi-final time which saw him leapfrog most of the world-class field to qualify seventh.
Although he was unable to recapture the form in the final, finishing ninth, he was stoked to make the top ten and to confirm his place on the senior Australian team for this year’s World Championships.
“I was very happy with my semi-final run, that was the one that really mattered,” he said.
“The finals run wasn’t as good, but i was still happy to be there among the top guys. It was a great experience.
“It’s my first time on the senior team, I’m looking forward to going overseas again and getting experience on a whole new level.”
Day 1, Saturday 18 February
Three-time World Champion Jessica Fox and younger sister Noemie have finished one-two in the C1 final of the canoe slalom Australian Open at Penrith in NSW.
The two-time Olympic medallist finished almost ten seconds ahead of her sister, with the Czech Republic’s Tereza Fiserova third, and said it was a great thrill to share the podium with Noemie.
“I was really happy with my run, I executed it the way I planned, and I was happy to see the little sis doing well,” Jessica Fox said.
“For me I try not to put too much emotion into it. We’re sisters, but we’re also competitors on the start line, so each does their best.
“I know I have to watch my back a little bit, that maybe she’s watching me more closely now. But it’s a good competitive rivalry that we have, and we have a great relationship.
“We train together, and we support each other on the water as well. I think her improving is only going to be better for me as well.”
By finishing second Noemie Fox has qualified for the Australian C1 team for this year’s World Cups and will make her World Championship debut in Pau, France, later this year - which is also her favourite slalom venue.
And coming from a family where both her mother and father were world-class paddlers, and sister Jessica is a two-time Olympic medallist and multiple World Champion, she knows the pressure is on.
“They’ve definitely set the bar pretty high,” she said.
“But it’s good because I know what being the best looks like, and what it takes to achieve it. I’ve grown up with great role models and it’s a really good environment so I’m happy to be in that situation.
“Jess is the best paddler, and to be able to train with her all the time is extremely rewarding.”
Two-time world champion, Jiri Prskavec, proved his class with a 2.80 second win against a world-class men’s K1 field, with American paddler Michal Smolen second and Olympic gold medallist, Joe Clarke, third.
Australia’s Lucian Delfour picked up a two-second penalty, which dropped him from the bronze medal position to sixth overall.
In the men’s C2, Olympic gold medallist and brothers, Peter and Ladislav Skantar, finished just 0.30 seconds ahead of the French team of Nicolas Scianimanico and Hugo Cailhol.
In Australian team selection news, the women’s C1 team for this year is set to be Jessica and Noemie Fox, and Ros Lawrence, while the men’s K1 team is likely to be Lucien Delfour, Warwick Draper and Jaxon Merritt.
The final Australian senior team for this year’s World Championships is;
Men’s C1 - Ian Borrows, Tristan Carter, Daniel Watkins.
Women’s C1 - Jessica Fox, Noemie Fox, Ros Lawrence, Kate Eckhardt.
Men’s K1 - Lucien Delfour, Warwick Draper, Jaxon Merritt.
Women’s K1 - Jessica Fox, Ros Lawrence, Kate Eckhardt.