For the world’s top rafters, it’s all going down Down Under.
After the first day of competition of the 2019 IRF World Rafting Championships, powered by
Experience Co. on Australia’s Tully River, Brazil came out on top for the Men’s Open division in the Sprint event, clocking in at 242.52, followed by Japan in second and Russia in third. The U.S. team finished in 12thplace, 13 seconds back at 255.
For the Women’s Open, New Zealand came out on top at 261.06, followed by Russia and the Czech Republic.
The Tully is playing host to over 400 competitors and support crew from 19 different nations for the event, which kicked off Thursday in the Sprint event, whose winner is determined by the fastest team from start to finish.
Local Aus Teams Thriving
The local Australian teams, meanwhile, are also turning heads, with top finishes in several other categories.
The home team Australia Masters Women’s squad came first in their division, eight and a half seconds ahead of Costa Rica. It also won day 2’s Head-to-Head race, with Costa Rica taking Silver.
Australian Under 19 Men also tamed the Tully by taking first place followed by Indonesia and Czech Republic. Australian Under 19 Women showed the country how it is done competing in a division above in under 23s and still placing first ahead of the highly anticipated to win New Zealand and Indonesia.
Most competitors are excited for the event to come to Australia’s famed Class III-IV Tully for the first time.
“We’ve been waiting for this to happen in Australia for the last 20 years, finally here we are,” says Costa Rica Open Men team captain Alex Sagura. “It was a really good race, nice place, nice river, nice people, Australians are amazing.”
The afternoon also saw the Under 19 and Under 23 divisions teams tackle the Head-to-Head, which sees teams battle it out 1:1 over the sprint course but this time with buoy navigation mandatory — full contact is permitted in a knockout competition where the winner is decided not necessarily on who is fastest but who plays their tactics the best (i.e. picture BoaterX in rafts).
In the Under 19 Men final, Australia took the battle right to the finish line with some strong tactics in play by Costa Rica. Australia was able to pull through from the core to push the Costa Ricans back and take on the win with a narrow margin. In the Under 23s, the Indonesian women took the battle and used tactics right up to the line with a neck and neck final with New Zealand. The Under 23 men’s races saw Czech Republic take home the medal over New Zealand.
In Day two’s Head-to-Head race, some interesting tactics were used by some teams, including New Zealand Open Men’s team’s gamble to get ahead of Japan at the third buoy. This failed and Japan went on to take the Silver, beaten by an excellent team from China, who were racing in their first ever WRC. Third place was taken by Russia. The Open Women saw the New Zealand Women taking the top honors, with Japan in second and last year’s World Champions, Czech, taking third.
For further information visit www.wrc2019.com
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