Inside the 2022 ICF Freestyle Worlds – Day 3 First of the Medals
by Jack Ledwith
Every day during the 2022 ICF World Freestyle Championships, Irish paddler Jack Ledwith is sending us his view on what is going on in Nottingham (UK) where the worlds are taking place this year. Follow along each day as he recaps what they see from the river bank
Another day here in sunny Nottingham at the world’s kayak freestyle championships. On the cards today we started off with men’s C1. The feature here in Nottingham really lends itself to the right-hand paddlers as the pocket to which the paddlers want to initiate their moves. As a left-handed paddler you have to really work hard on your offside to make your way over, this too makes it harder for the left-handed paddler to initiate moves, putting them at a disadvantage.Some surprise exits in this round will lead to an interesting final.
The second event of the day brought the senior women out in force and what an event it was. Arguably the most competitive field of kayakers to have competed at world championships. It’s amazing to see the support for the paddlers out there, not only from their coaches but from other paddlers too. Husbands and boyfriends on the sideline cheering their better halves on is really something. With paddling powerhouse couples such as Zofia and Tomasz, Emily and Nick and locals Harry and Ottlie are always there for each other to cheer from the sidelines and coach the best they can.
The OC1 semi-finals made for an interesting watch as the top five paddlers traded places several times. Just like the C1 paddlers, the feature lends itself to right-hand paddlers. This was not a problem for Canada’s Zachary Zwanenburg who is predominantly a left-handed paddler made short work of the feature of bagging himself a spot in the finals.
To top off the day we had our finals for men’s and women’s squirt boating. First starting of with the women who really stepped it up a notch. With a mixed field of experienced paddlers such as defending world champion Hitomi Takaku from Japan and the USA’s Anna Bruno putting it up to newcomers Alex McClure from Ireland, Tamsyn McConchie and Ottlie Robinson Shaw from team GB all vying it out for the top spot. Some outstanding rides were put down by the competitors with Ottlie clenching the victory showing her strength on the flat water and strong mystery move technique.
After a hard act to follow with the women’s final, the men’s final did not disappoint. With big rides being put down from all the competitors, the judging took some time which added to the suspense of the competition at hand. The field is shared by just two teams, team USA and team GB. The strong field paddlers were able to take misery moves up to the length of 12 seconds. Some paddlers even over-cooking the mystery move on washing down past the Eddie making it so that they’re unable to paddle back up. After a tense lot of second runs It came down to the third and final run for the group with the top three changing with each ride. After a lot of deliberation and only 43 points separating first and second, the USA’s veteran of the sport Clay Right took the victory with a huge score. Here’s hoping the rest of the competition.
Men’s C1 Prelims
Women’s K1 Prelims
Men’s OC1 Semi-Final
Women’s Squirt final
Men’s Squirt Final