Slovenian slalom paddlers have started the selection race series with an ICF Ranking race in Solkan. This selection races will give us the answer who will be part of Olympic team and national team that will compete at European Championships and World Cup races. Nina Mozetič (K1w), Benjamin Savšek (C1m) and Luka Božič – Sašo Taljat (C2) are in the best position after the first selection race. Peter Kauzer earned his Olympic spot with World Champion title he won last year in Bratislava.
The selection race in Solkan didn’t bring much surprise in most categories. The biggest surprise was the win of Nina Mozetič in women’s kayak heats of ICF Ranking race. The talkative paddler from Nova Gorica (just near Solkan) had some health problems and had to seek help at the emergency room on Wednesday, but that didn’t cause her many troubles at the course. Mozetič was two seconds faster than Urša Kragelj who finished in second place. “I started to recover on Thursday, but I still lack some of the strength. But as people say every bad thing brings something good. The positive side this time is that I knew I cannot count on my strength, so instead I tried to listen to the water. The experience from the previous selection races helped me a bit because I knew what to expect, so I just wanted to produce the runs without penalties. I didn’t even expect ideal runs,” said Mozetič and continued: “I simply couldn’t imagine a start of selection races like this – I am very satisfied.” Paulien Guiet (FRA) was third, while another Slovenian paddler Eva Terčelj finished fifth.
In men’s canoe heats Benjamin Savšek finished at the top with 1,93 seconds advantage over Stefano Cipressi (ITA), while Anže Berčič finished third. Another two Slovenians finished the heats in top 10; Blaž Cof was sixth and Jure Lenarčič seventh. Benjamin Savšek was satisfied after the runs: “I am satisfied but the last few days before the race were really stressful. We had some troubles with water conditions and weather, but luckily everything turned out just fine. In second run I corrected the mistake I did in the first run in the lower part of the course which brought me a second faster time. This way I checked the first win, although this is not even a halfway to the Olympics. There are still the races in Tacen ahead of us. Errors can occur really fast, just the way I made mistakes last year at selection races in Tacen. I had to correct the mistakes I did at the first races than in Solkan, so I got the place in the team at the very last race.”
In C2 Italian duo Pietro Camporesi – Niccolo Ferrari was the fastest in heats. The Italians were 54 hundredths of a second faster than Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat. Dejan Kralj and Simon Hočevar were third. Second place brought Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat the best starting point for the Olympics but with all the Canadian doubles very close to each other the job is far from done. “We’ve had some troubles in the past days; we just couldn’t get ourselves together. The first obstacle is past us. The start of the selection races is always the hardest, so we are happy with what we did today,” said Sašo Taljat. The best Slovenian duo will go to Tacen on Monday to prepare for the rest of selection race series. “So far we’ve only trained four times in Tacen, so we’ll go on Monday there and stay for the whole week. This way we’ll try to catch up the lack of training in Tacen and try to accept the course that doesn’t suit us the best. All the C2s are really tied this season, so we cannot afford any mistakes,” added Taljat.
In men’s kayak heats Peter Kauzer set the fastest time of the heats. Andrea Romeo (ITA) and Thomas Bersinger (FRA) were second and third. Since Peter Kauzer already earned his Olympic spot with World Champion title from Bratislava, the selection races in men’s K1 count only for national team that will compete at EC in Germany and at World Cups. Simon Brus (finished 5th in heats of Solkan ICF Ranking race), Janoš Peterlin (8th) and Martin Albreht (9th) are in the best position after the first race to join Kauzer in the national team. Jure Meglič finished the heats at 16th place and was 5th best Slovenian.
The top three paddlers in women’s C1 heats were Viktoria Wolffhardt (AUT), Mira Louen (GER) and Julia Schmid (AUT).
The Sunday’s semi-finals will start at 11.00 and finals will follow at 15.00.
The more detailed results can be found at: www.timing-mojstrana.com