Urša Kragelj was the fastest in heats of Oceania Championships.


Slalom paddlers have finished with the heats of Oceania Championships, which takes place this weekend at the course in Penrith, where they held the 2000 Olympic Games. In the women”s K1 event Slovenian Urša Kragelj produced the best time and easily reached the semifinals. Nine Slovenian boats advanced to the semi-final.

At the Oceania Championships, which would initially count for World Cup points, but then the decision was changed and is only considered for ICF ranking points the best Slovenian result of the day was set by Urša Kragelj in women’s kayak heats. She beat her nearest rival, local favorite Jessica Fox, for 79 hundredths of a second, while Emilie Fer of France finished third.”This is just another race this season. I tried to concentrate and especially to get into the competitive rhythm, since there wasn’t much time for preparation. This is the main goal of this race. Today I paddled nicely, I was also very calm,” said Kragelj after the heats. Eva Terčelj also competed at this race but experienced more troubles. In the first run the judges gave her four penalty seconds, while in the second one she picked up 52 penalty seconds, but nevertheless she finished 18th and still safely reached the semi-finals.

In the morning part of the competition canoeists also paddled in the heats. All Slovenians expect Jure Lenarčič who was 34th advanced to the next level of competition. Benjamin Savšek was the best Slovenian in 11th place, while Blaž Cof and Anže Berčič finished the heats in 27th and 29th place. Reigning world champion Denis Gargaud Chanut (FRA) was faster than Stanislav Ježek (CZE) and Tony Estanguet (FRA).

In the afternoon part of the programme kayakers, Canadian doubles and women’s canoeists took the stage. World Champion Peter Kauzer made mistakes in both heat runs and picked up two penalty seconds each time, which pushed him to 11th place. This way he still safely ensured himself a place in semi-final, where Martin Albreht who was 33rd will keep him company. Less successful were Janoš Peterlin (49th) and Matej Poljanec (68th) both failing to advance from heats.

With less than 20 boats in the C2 event the heats were just a formality and all boats advanced to the semi-final. Peter and Ladislav Škantar of Slovakia set the fastest time, while Germans Franz Anton and Jan Benzien were second and Fabien Lefevre and Denis Gargaud Chanut of France were third. Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat were the best Slovenians in 9th place. They were not pleased with the result:  “We paddled differently in the second run, with a higher frequency, but we lost our ideal line in the third gate. We weren’t satisfied with our first run either. The time was surprisingly good, so obviously others made mistakes too,” said Sašo Taljat. Luka Slapšak and Urban Jarc were tenth.

In the women’s C1 event, with no Slovenians at the start, Rosalyn Lawrence (AUS) won in front of Katerina Hoškova (CZE) and fellow Australian Leanne Guinea.