Slovenian athletes took advantage of a home course on Soča River and produced excellent runs in the heats of 2013 ICF Wildwater Canoeing sprint World Championships, Solkan. All three C2 boats were at the top after two qualification runs. In women’s kayak event Britain’s Hannah Brown finished the race in front of two French paddlers who shared second place – Manon Hostens and Sixtine Malaterre.
Slovenian team unexpectedly ruled the men’s C2 heats on Soča River. All three competing boats were at the top positions after two qualifications runs on Friday.
The results were rather surprising for all. Leading crew, Luka Žganjar and Peter Žnidaršič, are very young and have little experience at this level, while the other two boats did not know what to expect before the championships. Slalom experts Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat were two times Wildwater Canoeing World Champions back in 2010, but since then focused on slalom entirely and also represented Slovenia at London Olympics. They paddled downriver only the last few days prior to the competition. Božič and Taljat were only 0,01 seconds behind their teammates. The story of a third Slovenian Canadian double is even more interesting.
Two top C1 paddlers Simon Hočevar and Blaž Cof saw an opportunity before the Championships in Slovenia and decided to try their luck also in C2 – they only had two weeks of training together. The decision proved to be right as they were third after the heats.
“This is a pleasant surprise. Yesterday I didn’t know where to put us, since this is our first race. I was very surprised after third place. After the first run Simon and I agreed to miss the second run in case we still held the same position, because we have many races and we need to rest for the finals and Saturday’s competition. This is fantastic,” said Blaž Cof. After great results achieved in the heats Slovenian team now expects more also from the team runs. “People asked me before if we are favourites for the team runs and I did not know what to answer because I didn’t know where we belong. Now I could say we’re capable of winning a medal both in individual and team events,” added Cof.
French favourites Alzingre – Claudepierre, who are also reining European Champions, were fourth and their compatriots Leclerc – Pete were fifth.
British paddler Hannah Brown dominated women’s heats. She was 1,72 seconds ahead of two French representatives who shared second place – Manon Hostens and Sixtine Malaterre. Experienced German paddler Sabine Fuesser was fourth and another French Charlene Le Corvaisier was fifth.
The final runs under the spotlights will start at 21.30.
You can follow live results here: