2019 ICF Junior & U23 Slalom World Championships – Day 4 K1 Men & C1 Women Finals
by Ross Solly
Delassus provides highlight of junior canoe slalom world championships.
French paddler Anatole Delassus provided the race of the world championships on a day when his team picked up another two canoe slalom gold medals, the Czech Republic once again found the top of the podium, and Brazil’s Ana Satila broke through for the biggest win of her career.
Delassus posted an incredible 85.15 seconds to win the junior K1 final. Czech Jakub Krejci, the second last paddler on the course, set 85.42 – a time faster than the winning time in the U23 K1 earlier in the day.
But he and the big crowd looked on in disbelief as the young Frenchman went even faster to snatch the gold away.
“It’s fantastic, I didn’t know the time of Jakub at the start, so I’m so happy,” Delassus said.
“I was not in good form at the start of this year, and French team selection was bad for me. But I feel very well now, so I’m very happy.
“This is my last year as a junior. Next year will be the same, just a little bit harder.”
The bronze went to Slovenia’s Vid Ostrbenk in a time of 89.61.
France’s second gold medal on Saturday came in a dramatic men’s U23 K1, where a sudden surge in water levels caused a mid-final delay. After the break it was Frenchman Pol Oulhen who hit the water the strongest, posting a time of 86.02 to take the gold.
“It was exciting. We had to wait a few minutes, but I think that was good for me, I had a good feeling and I really enjoyed my run,” Oulhen said.
“This was my last U23 championship, so I think this was the moment to make a medal. I’ve never won an U23 medal before, so it’s cool for me and a good way to start the senior category.”
Teammate and training partner Mathurin Madore finished in 86.32, with former junior world champion Mario Leitner of Austria third in 87.82.
Brazil’s Ana Satila broke through for her first major win of her career, taking gold in the U23 C1 final ahead of Russia’s Alsu Minazova, with Slovakia’s Monika Skachova taking bronze.
Satila has been one of the strongest performers in women’s C1 for several seasons, but a gold medal at a major international event had always eluded her.
She received a further setback on Friday when she was awarded a 50-second penalty in the women’s K1 event, but showed her determination on Saturday by posting the quickest time in the C1 semi-final, and then following up with the gold medal run in the C1.
But she said her race was still not the best she could do.
“Not yet. I want much more than this,” she said.
“I’m happy with my race today, but its not what I really want. I want much more than this, and I’m going to fight for this to the end and make my dreams come true.
“I’m so happy for my friends and supporters and for Brazil. I really think I’ve grown up in this race a lot today.”
Minazova set the fastest raw time of the final, but had two gate touches which slipped her behind an error-free Satila.
Czech Gabriela Satkova successfully defended her 2018 junior C1 world title with an impressive performance to add more gold to her country’s collection for the week.
Satkova was one of the only paddlers to master the Krakow course in a messy final, eventually finishing 2.58 seconds ahead of teammate Tereza Kneblova to end her junior career on a high.
“I knew it was going to be harder than last year because of the pressure, but I really just hoped to do my best,” Satkova said.
“It’s the hardest thing in the world for me, to not be stressed and to be focussed. You never know if you’re going to be fast enough, I was so nervous, I didn’t know if I could do it again.
“Next year will be so hard for me, because all the girls are so strong and it’s so hard to beat them.”
Italy’s Marta Bertoncelli picked up the bronze medal.
The 2019 ICF junior and U23 canoe slalom world championships conclude on Sunday with finals in extreme slalom.