France leads the way as canoe-kayak competition enjoys a final flourish
There was no whitewater involved but the obstacle slalom course at Xuanwu Lake still managed to put competitors’ river paddling skills to the test at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games on 27 August.
The course sent racers off a ramp jump, also known as a seal drop, into the lake. After navigating a series of slalom gates, paddlers had to execute a roll then weave back through the gates to the finishing line.
France, whose team is experienced in whitewater slalom, proved up to the task, winning individual golds through Lucas Roisin in the men’s C1 and Camille Prigent in the women’s K1.
Camille Prigent (left) and Lucas Roisin after winning their gold medals
“The gates here are not like the gates that we are used to, so before coming here we didn't know our level compared to the others,” Prigent said. “But after the qualifications we saw that we could get on the podium.”
Robert Hendrick (IRL) almost paddled off with a surprise win in the men’s C1 final, but came up sideways after his roll to lose momentum. Roisin won the race with a time of 1 minute, 18.179 seconds.
"The take-off ramp and the jump was the hardest part of the whole competition,” Weratschnig said. “It was really challenging.
“If I did it great, I had the feeling ‘oh yeah, now I can do the race’, but if it wasn't perfect I knew I had to speed up and catch up and it would have been more difficult. But I trained on that ramp every day and I have whitewater experience so everything went fine."
Weratschnig won with a time of 1:25.659 over silver medallist Martina Satkova (CZE) in the final. Birgit Ohmayer (GER) won the women’s C1 bronze medal head-to-head race over Lucie Prioux (FRA).
Jakub Grigar (SVK) had the fastest qualifying times and was the favourite to win the men’s K1, but he made the mistake of submerging his boat off the drop. Grigar nearly made up for the error with quick turns and a fast roll, but could not catch Urankar, who won with a time of 1:09.057.