By Nina Jelenc
The 2018 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Prague has finished with individual and team races in the women’s K1 and men’s C1 event. Great Britain celebrated a double win in men’s C1 final with Ryan Westley finishing first and Adam Burgess second. In the women’s final Ricarda Funk from Germany won in front of the defending champion Corinna Kuhnle from Austria. The French team won the men’s C1 event and German team the women’s kayak race.
Ricarda Funk has at 26 years of age already a lot to show. The 2014 European Champion from Vienna repeated the success also in Prague – Troja today. The German kayaker, who is also a 2015 European and World Championships medallist in the individual event and has a bronze from last year’s World Championships, finished the race 1.36 seconds ahead of Austrian Corinna Kuhnle. Kuhnle was actually the defending champion from last year and Fiona Pennie from Great Britain picked up bronze medal in today’s final.
“It just felt great it was nearly a perfect run. I managed some great up streams. I am really happy about that. I still can’t believe it. It feels so great when the crowd is just cheering for everybody. It’s Prague,” said Ricarda after her winning performance.
In the second final of the day Great Britain celebrated a double win in men’s canoe with new European champion Ryan Westley and his team mate Adam Burgess winning silver medal.To much delight of Czech fans Tomaš Rak finished third. Slovak canoeist Alexander Slafkovsky who was European Champion in the last two editions (2016 and 2017) finished the event in fourth place this time.
“I never expected that. My team mate Adam Burgess had put up a faster run than anyone had managed. So I just went out there to do the best I could do. Fortunately everything went my way,” said Westley whose European Champion title is one the biggest successes in his career so far. The 24-year-old paddler has won a bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships in Lee Valley and has an additional three medals from senior World and European Championships in team events.
In the afternoon the team events, which was a celebration for Germany and France. German representatives Ricarda Funk, Jasmin Schornberg and Lisa Fritsche were the fastest in women’s kayak team event, finishing the race ahead of Austria and Czech Republic. In men’s canoe team event the French trio led by Olympic champion Denis Gargaud Chanut and with Cedric Joly and Pierre Antoine Tillard being part of the winning team, produced the best time to win gold medal. The Slovakian team was second and the Czech team third.
The flag of the European Canoe Association is already in possession of the French Canoe Federation which will organise the 2019 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships. The event will be held in Pau.
- Ricarda Funk GER
- Corinna Kuhnle AUT
- Fiona Pennie GBR
- Ryan Westley GBR
- Adam Burgess GBR
- Tomaš Rak CZE
- GER (Ricarda Funk, Jasmin Schornberg, Lisa Fritsche)
- AUT (Corinna Kuhnle, Viktoria Wolffhardt, Lisa Leitner)
- CZE (Katerina Kudejova, Veronika Vojtova, Barbora Valikova)
- FRA (Denis Gargaud Chanut, Cedric Joly, Pierre Antoine Tillard)
- SVK (Michal Martikan, Alexander Slafkovsky, Marko Mirgorodsky)
- CZE (Vitezslav Gebas, Tomaš Rak, Lukaš Rohan)