Regular contributor for Adventure Magazine Mike Dawson added a silver sheen to an otherwise disappointing weekend for New Zealand kayakers, picking up just the third-ever World Cup medal in Slovakia overnight.
The Kiwi paddler finished second in the extreme slalom final behind Russia’s Pavel Eigel on the in Liptovsky Mikulas course, with Switzerland’s Dimitri Marx taking bronze.
Dawson made amends for crashing out of the men’s K1 semifinals earlier in the day, when he missed four gates to finish 36th, 20secs behind the leaders.
“I was a bit gutted with the slalom race this morning, after a really good qualification run which gave me back some form I’ve been missing for a while,” Dawson said. “It was pretty cold in testing conditions but the extreme slalom racing was a lot of fun – I managed to have a good qualification, which gave me a good starting position and meant I could progress through the first few heats. I got off to a good start in the final but just got caught behind one of the other guys, which let Pavel get through.”
Luuka Jones also had a tough finish to her weekend, after finishing 23rd in her K1 semifinal and last in her C1 semifinal.
“I had such a nightmare today – I haven’t been feeling good in my C1 and I’ve been playing around with a few things in it but haven’t found a solution,” Jones said. “The K1 was a lot better and I was paddling OK but I had a big mistake in the middle which was pretty costly.”
Australia’s Jessica Fox brought up a winning double and Germany’s Sebastian Schubert broke through for his first gold medal in the slalom finals.
Fox could not have been more impressive in the women’s C1 final, blowing away the field to win by more than seven seconds in cold and wet conditions.
Her final time was an error-free 106.34, with Czech Tereza Fiserova finishing second in 113.96. Great Britain’s current world champion, Mallory Franklin, finished third.
Schubert has to go back to Augsburg in 2014 for his last World Cup gold medal, but showed his very best form to defeat a quality field int he men’s K1.Schubert posted a time of 92.06 to edge out Poland’s Dariusz Popelia, who landed a two-second penalty, by 0.71 seconds. Britain’s Olympic gold medallist, Joseph Clarke, won the bronze.The women’s extreme kayak gold medal went to experienced creek-boat racer, Sage Donnelly, of the United States.Brazil’s Ana Satila won the silver, and Russia’s Alsu Minazova took the bronze.
There’s little time to rest for the Kiwi contingent, who leave later today for the next World Cup in the series in Poland.