Spain's Joaquim Fontane Usurps Dane Jackson in Surprise Win at Freestyle Kayak World Championships

The reign of Spain: Spain's Joaquin Fontane en route to his win over Dane Jackson.

Junior Men's winner Tom Dolle of France.
Just a day after freestyle sensation Dane Jackson wowed the crowd with a ride scoring an unheard of 1936.67 points in his K1 semi-finals—just 70 points away from cracking the magical K1 2000 mark at the ICF World Championships in San Juan, Argentina—it was Spain’s Joaquim Fontane upsetting the reigning world champion to win K1 gold on the final night of the 2017 ICF titles in San Juan, Argentina. For the women, Great Britain’s Claire O’Hara took the title, completing her third World Championship double…

Jackson led the men’s competition for the first two rounds with 1683.33, but Fontane posted the best ride of the night with his final effort to record 1718.33.

Jackson, who earlier won his third C1 world title, was unable to better Fontane’s score with the final ride of the night, giving gold to the Spaniard.

“It’s a dream come true,” Fontane said. “I’ve been having these dreams since I was 10 or 11. My first two rides were not very good. To be fair, the lights were confusing me a little bit, so I was a bit unsure. But then on the last ride, I knew I only had one chance. I only needed one ride to be world champion, I thought it was my opportunity, I couldn’t let it escape from me.”
France’s Sebastien Devred took the bronze with 1485 points.

Great Britain’s Claire O’Hara has confirmed herself as the greatest female freestyle kayaker on the planet with another golden world titles double, the third of her glittering career. O’Hara not only won the women’s K1 title under lights at San Juan, Argentina, but she also set a new world record highest score of 925.

The K1 title follows her victory in the women’s squirt competition earlier in the week, adding to the double golds she won in 2011 and 2013 and giving her ten world championship titles in total. The double also comes after a less than ideal preparation for the 36-year-old.
“It means the world to be honest,” O’Hara said. “This is my goal for this year. I’ve had a lot of family stuff going on that not a lot of people know about, and I’ve not been training as committed as I normally would do. To do it this late in my career, I’ve been competing in World Championships since 2007. I’ve been on this scene for a long time, and I think that helps.”

France’s Marlene Devillez finished second with 886.67, and Japan’s Hitomi Takaku was third with 570.

After a week of struggling to hit her top form, O’Hara slipped straight into the groove with her 925 point first ride. “Today was the first day where I felt ready,” she said. Just coming into today felt so perfect. The timing was truly right. I felt ready, I thought on the way here ‘this is it – I know my ride, I’m going flat out, I’m not taking it easy. I was going to go for everything, and if it worked it worked, if it didn’t, well at least I tried.”

O’Hara was going for broke in the final, setting herself some of the most ambitious tricks in the sport as her opening gambit.

“Knowing that I was opening up with some of the hardest tricks, I don’t think any girls have ever scored with them in a world’s competition before, and I was going to open up with it,” she said. “That in itself got me fired up and excited. I got that 925, it could have been more which would have been cool because I dropped a few tricks for sure during that routine.”

France’s Marlene Devillez finished second with 886.67, and Japan’s Hitomi Takaku was third with 570.

There was no repeat of the record-breaking C1 performances of earlier in the week for Dane Jackson, although he went oh-so-close on his way to his third C1 ICF freestyle world title.

Jackson, who was chasing another C1/K1 world championship double, posted 1210 with his first ride, a score that stood the test of time for the rest of the final. France’s Sebastien Devred with 1100 finished second, and Czech Lukas Cervinka the bronze with 980.
In the preliminary round Jackson set a new ICF high-score in the men’s C1 with 1093.33, and then bettered that mark again with 1236.67 in Friday’s semi-final.

“I was fired up to take the win in one of the most stacked C1 finals I’ve ever been in,” Jackson said. “Definitely I’m really fired up to get another 1200, and an 1100, pretty to have all three over 1000. I was happy to break into 1300, but it couldn’t happen today.”

Junior Men
After two months of nerves and sleepless nights, French teenager Tom Dolle lived up to expectations with a world junior title in San Juan.
17-year-old Tom Dolle started the shortest of short-priced favourites in the five-man junior final, and had set himself the goal of cracking 1700 in the title decider.

He achieved his goal with his first ride, pumping his fists after judges awarded him 1718.33. It turned out to be the winning score.

“I’m so excited, I can’t really believe it,” Dolle said.
“I felt good after the first ride, but I knew the other guys could still do better so. But I was less nervous for my second and third ride after that.”

Great Britain’s Alex Walters took the silver medal with 1496.67 points, with fellow Brit Harry Price third with 1216.67.

Junior Women
British teenager Ottilie Robinson-Shaw went to bed Friday night dreaming of winning a world title, and on Saturday it became reality when she won junior women’s gold at her first attempt at the 2017 World Championships.

16-year-old Robinson-Shaw took the lead early over defending champion, USA’s Sage Donnelly, and had a nervous wait with the American having the last ride of the competition.
But Donnelly was unable to overhaul Robinson-Shaw’s 553.33, giving a disbelieving Brit the world title.
“It’s amazing, I feel like everyone is lying to me,” Robinson-Shaw said. “They weren’t my strongest rides, but I’m happy, especially as it’s my first worlds.”

Donnelly finished with 483.33, with fellow American, Olivia McGinnis, third with 283.33.

(Photos by Peter Holcombe)

1. FONTANE Joaquim (ESP) 1718.33
2. JACKSON Dane (USA) 1683.33
3. DEVRED Sebastien (FRA) 1485.00
1. O’HARA Claire (GBR) 925.00
2. DEVILLEZ Marlene (FRA) 886.67
3. TAKAKU Hitomi (JPN) 570.00
1. JACKSON Dane (USA) 1210
2. DEVRED Sebastien (FRA) 1100
3. CERVINKA Lukas (CZE) 980
1 ROBINSON-SHAW Ottilie (GBR) 553.33
2 DONNELLY Sage (USA) 483.33
3 MCGINNIS Olivia (USA) 283.33
1. DOLLE Tom (FRA) 1718.33
2. WALTERS Alex (GBR) 1496.67
3. PRICE Harry (GBR) 1216.67

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