2017 ICF FREESTYLE WORLDS – DAY5 SEMI FINALS REPORT
Action Jackson mesmerises crowd at freestyle world championships
Three-time world champion Dane Jackson has smashed two records in an awesome display of freestyle kayaking and canoeing, and is less than 70 points from cracking the magical K1 2000 mark at the ICF World Championships in San Juan, Argentina.
Jackson broke his own record in the C1 for the second time this week, and then posted an incredible 1936.67 in his K1 semi-final.
“The most important thing was to make it to the finals, but luckily it worked out that I made it to the finals, had one of the highest ICF rides, and made it through in first position,” Jackson said.
“So I achieved all three on one ride, so I’m pretty stoked and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Jackson said he could improve further on his high-scoring ride, which could see him become the first athlete to crack 2000 in a World Championship.
“I had to redo my McNasty, so 2000 is definitely there, I’ve just got to pump myself up to get there.”
Great Britain’s Robert Crowe finished with 1706.67, and France’s Sebastien Devred was third qualifier with 1593.33.
23-year-old Jackson, who is chasing his second World Championship golden double in Argentina, followed up his record C1 score of 1093.33 from earlier this week with a 1236.67 on Friday.
“I’m pretty stoked about that,” Jackson said.
“It’s going to be a pretty tough final tomorrow, because everyone can crack that 1000 mark.”
USA’s Seth Chapelle qualified second with 1030, while three-time European champion, Lukas Cervinka, was third with 976.67.
Claire O’Hara’s quest to win back her freestyle kayak world title received a boost when she qualified first for the final, while main rival and defending world champion, USA’s Emily Jackson, missed the medal decider.
Great Britain’s O’Hara, who won her ninth world title earlier this week in San Juan when she won gold in the women’s squirt competition, posted 586.67 to nose out France’s Marlene Devillez on 570 points, with Poland’s Zofia Tula third with 568.33.
O’Hara was surprised to finish on top.
“We didn’t see the scores, and I wasn’t sure if one of my big tricks had scored or not, so we thought I might have been on the bubble and missed the cut,” O’Hara said.
“To be honest, it’s just important to make it into the final at this stage. I haven’t really pulled together at all this week.
“On a couple of rides I’ve pulled the big moves, but I haven’t had a ride yet that I’m proud of.”
French teenager Tom Dolle has cruised into the finals of the junior K1 event and is hoping to add even more tricks to his repertoire in Saturday’s decider.
17-year-old Dolle, long earmarked as the next big thing in freestyle kayak, posted a score of 1416.67 in his semi-final to qualify first, with Great Britain duo Alex Walters (1183.33) and Harry Price (863.33) filling the minor placings.
“I’m super stoked,” Dolle said.
“I just wanted to try and go through to the finals in first, then I can relax and see what everyone else is doing.
“I would like to do two or three more tricks in the final, but if I can do the same, that’s okay.”
The incredible balancing act that American teenager Sage Donnelly has been undertaking all year will come to a head on Saturday, when she starts favourite in the women’s junior K1 final.
17-year-old Donnelly qualified first for the final with a score of 620, ahead of Great Britain’s Ottilie Robinson-Shaw on 546.67.
“I’m really stoked with my run,” Donnelly said.
“I’m really stoked to have put things together, and San Juan has been amazing and I can’t wait for the finals.
“It’s definitely been especially nerve-wracking this year, because I am coming here to defend my title.”
Donnelly has been competing in slalom, extreme slalom and freestyle in 2017, as well as undertaking an online college program.