By Nina Jelenc | ECA
The 2017 ECA Wildwater Canoeing European Championships in Skopje (MKD) continued yesterday with individual wildwater sprint races. The competition moved from the city centre and the Vardar River to the picturesque Matka Canyon in the suburbs of Skopje. In very equal finals where only a few hundredths of a second meant a significant difference in the final position France celebrated a triple win in men’s C2 final and Slovenia did the same in men’s kayak event. Athletes from Italy, Switzerland, Croatia and Czech Republic also reached the podium positions.
French C2 paddlers Tony Debray and Louis Lapointe crossed the finish line of the course on the Treska River with a time 41.88 to win the European Champion title ahead of their team colleagues Stephane Santamaria – Quentin Dazeur and Damien Mareau – Pierre Troubady.
French wildwater team did not only celebrate a triple win in this event but had a lot of success in other finals well. Claire Bren and Lise Vinet finished first and second respectively in women’s kayak final, while Melanie Mathys picked up bronze medal for Switzerland.
“It was very hard for me after the first race because I had a bad race. It was difficult to begin a new one. But this race was great. I am very happy with this medal,” said Claire Bren after winning a medal 0.18 seconds ahead of her compatriot Lise Vinet.
Vladimir Slanina (CZE) won a gold medal in men’s canoe final with only 0.04 second lead ahead of French canoeist Quentin Dazeur. Luka Obadić from Croatia produced a great run to win a bronze medal in this final.
In men’s kayak final Slovenian paddlers once more showed their strength in sprint. All four Slovenian representatives finished the final in top five, three of them on the podium. Vid Debeljak became a new European Champion, Nejc Žnidarčič who was the best in the previous European Championships was second this time, while Anže Urankar picked up a bronze medal. He was only 0.01 seconds faster than French kayaker Paul Graton who finished fourth.
“There is nothing to comment about my run. It was almost flawless. I waited a bit too much at some waves, but I pushed harder on the flat surface, so it was great,” said Debeljak.
The Italian girls were the best in both women’s canoe events. Marlene Ricciardi finished the race in first place, ahead of her compatriot Cecilia Panato and French Cindy Coat in women’s C1 final. All three also won a medal in women’s C2.
Cecilia Panato paddled together with her sister Alice to win a European Champion title. Daughters of Vladi Panato, former C1M wildwater World and European champion, were 0.38 seconds faster than French duo Cindy Coat – Manon Durand, while Mathilde Rosa – Marlene Ricciardi picked up bronze medal for Italy.