Slalom World Cup Stage #1, Prague – C1 Men, K1 Women, C2 mixed Report
Emotional wins for Tasiadis and Chourraut at Prague Slalom World Cup
There were emotional gold medals for Germany’s Sideris Tasiadis and Spain’s Maialen Chourraut on the final day of the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup in Prague.
Chourraut, the Rio gold medallist in the women’s K1, revealed she has been battling vertigo since the Olympics and has had trouble training.
And Tasiadis, the silver medallist in the men’s C1 at the London Olympics, broke through for his first World Cup win and spoke of the difficult time he has had in the past two years since his girlfriend’s death from luekemia.
Chourraut’s path to the podium was difficult, as it was in Rio last year, needing a second run in qualifying to make the K1 semi-final.
But she found her best form in the final, posting an error-free time of 104.68 to edge out Saturday’s C1 winner, Great Britain’s Kimberley Woods, in 104.92, with Germany’s Ricardo Funk third in 108.06 with four seconds of penalties.
“It’s incredible, I can’t believe I have started the season like this,” Chourraut said.
“Prague is a very difficult course for me, I have never made a semi-final here. Today was my first time.
“For me this year has been very difficult, I have had some problems during the year. I have had vertigo, I feel like everything is moving.”
Tasiadis, who appeared to have the paddling world at his feet after finishing second behind the legendary Tony Estanguet in the C1 at the London Olympics, could not hide his emotion as he crossed the line first in Prague on Sunday.
“For this is my first World Cup win,” he said.
“The last two years have been very difficult with my girlfriend having this terrible disease. Now I have a new girlfriend, she makes me stronger.
“You have to look into the future.”
Tasiadis finished in 100.36 seconds, a massive 1.52 seconds ahead of Olympic silver medallist, Slovakia’s Matej Benus, with Italy’s Raffaello Ivaldi third.
Just 0.07 seconds separated second and fourth.
The capacity Czech crowd had the unusual situation of not having an athlete to watch in either the men’s C1 or women’s K1 finals, however did have cause to celebrate after the victory of Tereza Fiserova and Jakub Jane in the C2 mixed final.
They finished in 127.82, ahead of fellow Czech’s Veronika Vojtova and Jan Masek in 184.66.
The second ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup begins in Augsburg, Germany, next Friday.