Jošt Zakrajšek was the best at sprint selection race in Bled.


Slovenian sprint canoeists competed at selection races for senior and junior team at Lake Bled. In men’s kayak Jošt Zakrajšek showed the best form in 500m and in 1000m races, while in women’s races Špela Ponomarenko Janić paddled the best.

The most interesting races were in the men’s kayak event where Jošt Zakrajšek (KKK Tacen) won both the 500m and 1000m races. Former whitewater paddler was very satisfied with his performances at Lake Bled: “I’m very satisfied because I saw I am on the right track. This was the case already in Mantua, although I had a bit worse result there because I was sick a few days before. I was satisfied already then, but that wasn’t the real evaluation yet.  There’s still 14 days until the most important race, so I’ll need to rest and add some small matters.” At the longest, 1000m, distance Lovro Leban finished second with less than a second slower time, while Rok Kuk (both KKK Soške elektrarne) finished the race in third place.

The time differences among the top three at half shorter distance (500 metres) were a bit smaller. Zakrajšek won with 29 hundredths of a second faster time than Rok Kuk, while Lovro Leban produced 81 hundredths of a second slower time. Leban and Kuk together form a successful K2, but this time they only paddled in K1 events. Slovenian sprint canoeists just finished exhausting training camp, therefore the competitors felt tired. “It’s hard to talk about the form, because we just finished 14 days long training camp. I am tired, but I hope we will get some rest before the main race in Poznan and that we’ll activate ourselves. We haven’t paddled in K2 since Mantua much, only few times here in Bled. It was a bit better than in Mantua,” said Lovro Leban and continued: “We mostly train in single boat, but nevertheless we will have to paddle in K2 as well, so we’ll see if the problems are still present. We need to know how to cope with them if they appear, so we need to find some solutions. Although I hope it won’t come to that.”

At 200 metres Lovro Leban won in front of Tilen Vidovič (BD Ranca Ptuj) and Alan Gregorič (KKK Žusterna). In men’s canoe event only Simon Požek (KKK Orka) started and he also paddled at a 500m event.

In women’s kayak event Špela Ponomarenko Janić topped the podiums as expected. She won at 200m and 500m races. At the shortest, 200m, distance Anja Osterman (KKK Ankaran) finished in second place with 1,10 seconds slower time, Szilvia Kollo (KKK Orka) was third. In 500 metres race Špela Ponomarenko Janić won with an advantage of 5,82 seconds over Anja Osterman, while Szilvia Kollo finished third with 8,24 seconds slower time. At 1000 metres Manca Vida (KKK Bohinj) won in front of Tina Kobale (BD Ranca Ptuj).

Špela Ponomarenko Janić started at this competition in Bled during her preparations for the season 2012 when the OG in London will be the peak of the year. “This was a training race for me. I came here because Stjepan Janić works with Tilen Vidovič and in other case I’d be left alone in Zagreb. I am satisfied with my current form. I was in Szeged now where I trained together with Nataša Janić who needs to be at her best in two weeks if she wants to qualify for the Olympics. I wasn’t much behind her, so I think I can only advance from now on,” said momentarily the only Slovenian sprint paddler with ensured Olympic ticket, while others will have to fight for them at European Olympic Qualifications in Poland this May.

In junior competition at 1000 metres Alan Apollonio (KKK Ankaran) won in front of Matic Klobučar and Jani Jarc (both KKK Soške elektrarne). At 500 metres Simon Blaževič (KKK Ankaran) produced the fastest time, finishing in front of Vid Debeljak (KKK Tacen) and Patrik Toš (KKK Žusterna). At the 200 metres race Vid Debeljak crossed the finish line in front of Partik Toš and Simon Blaževič.

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