Slovenian slalom paddlers won five medals in the finals of ICF Ranking race in Solkan.


Slovenian slalom paddlers won five medals in the finals of ICF Ranking race that was held this weekend in Solkan. Urša Kragelj and Eva Terčelj were at the top in women’s final; Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat won in C2, while Luka Slapšak and Urban Jarc finished third in C2 final. Peter Kauzer was the most successful in men’s kayak final.

Slovenian paddlers had a nice success with five medals in the finals of ICF Ranking race in Solkan. In the final of women’s kayak event the protégées of former Vice World Champion Miha Terdič achieved the best results. Urša Kragelj was two and a half seconds faster than Eva Terčelj, while Clara Giai Pron (ITA) finished in third place. “The first competition day wasn’t the best for me; I should go to the course with clearer thoughts. I was disappointed that I didn’t make it, but all in all this is only the beginning. It’s hard to be the best at all times with hard competition and it’s hard to win at all the races,” Urša Kragelj evaluated her performance in the heats of Solkan race that also counted as the first selection race for Olympic team and senior slalom team. She was far more satisfied with her performances in the semi-final and final: “Today my motivation was very high and I really enjoyed the competition. I showed the runs I usually make at the trainings, so I can be satisfied.” Nina Mozetič, the winner of the first selection race, finished in fifth place, and Ajda Novak was seventh.

In men’s C2 final the competitors from local club Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat won. The most successful Slovenian Canadian double had some problems with their form still a few days ago. “Today we made another big step forward. We gained some feelings, corrected some mistakes, so I hope we will make it also in Tacen. We want to win at these selection races, so we can start prepare for the Olympics. We set our goal to get the Olympic ticket after the selection races in Solkan and Tacen and we still strive for this so I hope we will make it. We just need three good runs in Tacen,” said Luka Božič. Erik Masoero and Andrea Benetti (ITA) were second and Luka Slapšak and Urban Jarc finished third. Another two Slovenian C2s paddled in the final – Luka Žganjar and Peter Žnidaršič were 5th and Niko Testen – Žiga Taljat finished 10th.

In men’s kayak final Peter Kauzer won in front of Diego Paolini (ITA) and Giovanni de Gennaro (ITA). Janoš Peterlin finished the competition in 9th place; Simon Brus was 11th and Matic Štrukelj 12th. Peter Kauzer was happy with what he showed in Solkan: “I am satisfied with the fact I had four runs without penalty seconds, although I was close to them today with gates located a bit low. I was prepared for that and all I wanted was to produce runs without penalty seconds.” Kauzer doesn’t have selection races as other do, because his World Champion title pre-qualified him both for the Olympic team and senior slalom team. “You shouldn’t take selection races as a burden. You need to think of them as normal races and you cannot be occupied with all the other things, all you need to think about is your runs. I stopped burdening myself with selection races in 2006, although I wasn’t always pre-qualified. They are a necessary evil you need to confront with.  If you don’t know how to cope with the pressure of selection races, how will you cope with the pressure of World Cup races, World Championships or Olympics?” Kauzer gave the advice to the others.

A bit less successful this time were canoeists – none of the Slovenians got the place at the winner’s podium. The best Slovenian was Jure Lenarčič in 6th place. “I had a nice semi-final run, it was just the way I wanted it to be. Of course there were some mistakes, but as it looks they were smaller than those of the other competitors. I had minor mistakes also in the final run and my rhythm was interrupted, so the result is like it is. I cannot say it’s bad, but on the other hand I cannot jump with joy as well,” Lenarčič evaluated his performances. He is optimistic before the next selection races: “I know I am fast, I know how to paddle and I know that I am capable of getting into the Olympic team and senior slalom team. I think I’ll show my knowledge in Tacen.” The winner became Roberto Colazingari (ITA), Stefano Cipressi (ITA) was second and Jerguš Badura (SVK) was third. Blaž Cof finished 7th and Anže Berčič was 9th.

Mira Louen (GER) was the best paddler in women’s C1 final. Two Austrian competitors joined her among the top three. Viktoria Wolffhardt was second and Julia Schmid was third. Anja Kancler was 5th at the end, Alja Kozorog 6th and Beti Medved 7th.

Slalom paddlers will have another important race on Thursday when second selection race for Olympic team and senior slalom team will be organized in Tacen. Out of two runs only the best one will count. The remaining three selection races will follow next weekend at ICF ranking race in Tacen. On Saturday the best result from the heats will count for the selection process, while both Sunday runs (semi-final and final) will be important for the final standings in selection race series. At the end the best four results (out of five) will count for senior slalom team, while competitors have to win at least four-times if they want to get their place in Olympic team already  after the selection races in Solkan and Tacen. In other case the best two competitors from selection race series will fight at European Championships in Germany. There the best competitor out of best two from selection races in Slovenia will get an Olympic ticket.

You can find more results from Solkan at: