The slalom season is now over after an exciting World Championships in Tacen, Slovenia. The Canadian Team arrived three weeks before the competition to train on the course in preparation for the race. The venue in Slovenia is one we’ve raced on many times before and always makes for some dramatic paddling. The course begins with a big drop at the top that’s difficult to master and continues on with some of the most inconsistent and surging white water I’ve ever paddled on. This often results in some surprises on the score board and this year’s Worlds did not disappoint.
We had an incredible amount of rain leading into the race which meant that we were training on a different water level each day which is less than ideal leading into such a big race. The river rose so much that a day of competition was postponed and the competition format changed in order to fit in the race runs. Check out the pictures taken by teammate, Jessica Groeneveld. You can see the awards platform was underwater!
Canada had a range of results with some disappointments and other personal best performances. Sindy Audet of St. Eustache, Quebec produced an incredible final run to land her in 8th place overall in the women’s single canoe event. Jessica Groeneveld of Innisfail, Alberta also produced a great result and a personal best of 19th place in the semi-final. Both women were recipients of CAN Fund this past summer.
On the men’s side, Ben Hayward of Edmonton produced an impressive 22nd result in a field of close to 100 men’s single kayak. Local favourite and last year’s World Champion, Peter Kauzer of Slovenia incurred a 50 second penalty in the final missing a gate with his head and ruining his medal hopes. This left the door open for one of his main rivals Daniele Molmenti of Italy to snatch the gold with a very impressive performance. There were many penalties on the board at this year’s Worlds which was reflective of the difficult water in Tacen.
This finishes off the main international competitions for the Canadian Team with the Pan American Championships being postponed from this October until January 2011. The majority of the team has returned to Canada to their home courses. Ben Hayward has chosen to go on to Prague for some fall training. I myself have returned to the UK for a fall series of races and some training on an artificial course in Nottingham, England.
Stay tuned for more from the slalom team in the months ahead…