Babushkas, Borscht, and…BOATS!?!?!

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Ah Slovenia, land of babushkas, borscht, and…boats. That’s right, boats. Lots of ‘em. Most of the western world wouldn’t consider the former Soviet Republic a hotbed of paddling action. However, here in the PL office we know better. The 2010 edition of the ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships just wrapped up from the Tacen Whitewater Course on the Sava River, keep reading for highlights of all the action and results…

In the Women’s C1 Final some touches and missed gates meant that a clean run by Slovenia’s own Jana Kukatova was good enough for gold. After the win she said, “I’m feeling really great. This was very, very hard, the water here is technically difficult and for the C1 Ladies it was a very hard race today, so I’m happy I didn’t make any big mistakes.” She also commented on the state of the Women’s C1 category saying, “I think this World Championships, on this course, is one big step up for the women’s. I am really surprised and happy that a lot of women went to the start, even though it’s here in Tacen with the big first jump. I think when we come to the other courses now, it will be much much better and the women’s class will have improved a lot for next year.” Rounding out the podium were two Australians, 2009 World Champion, Leanne Guinea took the silver and 16-year-old Jessica Fox the bronze.

On the men’s side of the C1 finals old rivals Tony Estanguet and Michal Martikan found themselves one two on the podium once again. Estanguet took the gold for France, and Martikan the silver for Slovakia. When asked about how the rivalry affects his race Estanguet said, “It’s incredible, I can’t explain it, but it’s great because it’s always Michal and me on the podium.”
Talking us through the run, Tony said, “I had a really good start. Up to gate 4 it was really excellent. I can’t explain because I did exactly the same in the first run but this time it was excellent, last time it was not so good. In gate 5, I was a little bit below and down on the upstream gate so after I had some good speed between 6, 7 and 8… it’s a big fight on this course, you never know how it is going to go. I’m really happy to win, this kind of course is not my strength, I prefer the big courses with a more stable current… so this is a good victory for me today.” Spain’s Jordi Domenjo took home the bronze. Domenjo crossed the line less than a second later than Martikan and all of the top three had completely clean runs.

Men’s K1 Final. This was the race they were all waiting for. The anticipation of Peter Kauzer’s World Championship attempt was palpable having built up since yesterday’s adventurous session of heats. The two Slovenians went down consecutively, Kauzer first followed by Jure Meglic. As Kauzer made his way down the course, it all seemed to be going well but it was the upstream Gate 17 that added 50 points to his run. He just missed it. The disappointment was clear, in both Peter Kauzer’s face as he crossed the line and within the crowd. However they were to be buoyed by their other K1 star, Meglic. Fourth fastest in the semis, he was clearly on form and managed a quick and clean time of 93.56 which gave him the bronze. Some consolation indeed for Slovenia’s fans. Coming into the silver medal position was Czech Republic’s Vavrinec Hadrilek, a good year for him sealed with silver.

Crossing the line in first place was Italy’s Daniele Molmenti. Ever the showman, Daniele was clearly delighted as he sat on the water and watched his fellow competitors come through. After the race he told reporters it was a little bit of luck that brought him over the line first, but it also thanks to all the training he has done here. Leading up to the final, he said that he was feeling pretty relaxed having won the World Cup, he knew he could make the time. Funnily enough, at the European Championships in Bratislava, he told Peter that as he gave him the European title, he would take the World Championship title from him in Tacen. It did indeed come true.

After the impressive win a reporter asked Molmenti if this was the race of his life. His reply: “Ah no, I will do that in London.” Brilliant.

Mens C1
Gold-Tony Estanguet (FRA)
Silver-Michal Martikan (SVK)
Bronze-Jordi Domenjo (ESP)

Mens C2
Gold-Slovakia Hochschorner/Hochschorner
Silver-France Gargaud/Lefevre
Bronze-United Kingdom Florence/Hounslow

Mens K1
Gold-Daniele Molmenti (ITA)
Silver-Vavrinec Hradilek (CZE)
Bronze-Jure Meglic (SLO)

Womens C1
Gold-Jana Kukatova (SVK)
Silver-Leanne Guinea (AUS)
Bronze-Jessica Fox (AUS)

Womens K1
Gold-Corrina Kuhnle (AUT
Silver-Jana Dukatova (SVK)
Bronze-Violetta Oblinger-Peters (AUT)

Full results can be downloaded in PDF form
Right Here