Tauranga kayaker Callum Gilbert was just 0.01secs away from a remarkable second final at the last ICF World Cup canoe slalom round of the season in Prague overnight.
With the world championships and Olympic qualifications looming in Spain at the end of the month, finished 11th in the men’s K1 semifinal, with a 96.33sec run. He was 4.32secs off the fastest time and was just pipped by Polish paddlers Michal Pasiut and Dariusz Popiela, who finished on 96.31 and 96.32 to finish ninth and tenth respectively.
If he’d eked another hair’s breadth out of his run, Gilbert would’ve become the first Kiwi to have qualified for two World Cup finals in a season, after finishing fifth in the opening round in London in June.
Teammate Finn Butcher (Alexandra) was also quick but three 2sec gate touches pushed him back to 30th with a 102.98 semifinal run.
Luuka Jones also struggled with touches in her C1 women’s semifinal, picking up three penalties as she finished 17th, 11.59secs off the pace.
Without the touches, her 123.99 raw time would’ve been good enough to qualify her in eighth.
Jones also enjoyed a great run in the extreme slalom world championship race, eventually knocked out in the semifinals, while Jack Dangen made it all the way through to the quarterfinals.