Mike Dawson wins extreme canoe slalom gold

NZ HERALD – Paddler Mike Dawson has become the first New Zealander to win a World Cup canoe slalom medal.

Two-time Olympian Dawson won the men’s extreme canoe slalom final at the opening cup of the season in Prague today.

He held off a trio of top Czech Republic canoeists on their home course. The non-Olympic event featured four boats negotiating a demanding Troja course with slalom gates and a compulsory eskimo roll to work through.

Dawson, 30, edged out his good mate and long time rival Vavra Hradilek, the 2012 Olympic silver medallist, in the final, Vit Prindis and Ondrej Tunka.

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“It was a pretty cool race in the final and to take it to the Czechs and win New Zealand’s first cup medal,” Dawson said.

“It was pretty flat tack top to bottom and you’ve got to do two gates, so it’s full on, but once we came through the quarter-finals into the semis, it was anyone’s race.”

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