Frenchman Nicolas Gestin won his first senior world cup gold and Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin celebrated her birthday with her first gold since 2019 in sweltering conditions at the ICF canoe slalom world cup in Krakow on Sunday.
There were also gold medals for Martina Wegman from the Netherlands and Chris Bowers from Great Britain in two very competitive extreme slalom finals.
Less than one second split the top five placegetters in the men’s C1 final, with Olympic champions Benjamin Savsek and Denis Gargaud Chanut ruling themselves out of gold medals with gate touches.
22-year-old Gestin, a winner of the U23 world title on the same course in 2019, improved one place on his silver medal from Prague one week ago.
“Last week my coach said to me there was one step more, so I am happy to take this step today,” Gestin said.
“It’s a good course for me, but I didn’t really feel during the week that I could do that, it was hard for me at the training and I didn’t really feel the water. But sometimes with your paddle you can do something great ».
“This year my goal was to learn how to win in a senior event, and now I have done it.”
In the women’s final Franklin had a nervous wait for her gold, with reigning Olympic champion Jessica Fox from Australia the final paddler on the course. But when Fox missed a gate and had to paddle back upstream, Franklin was able to finally celebrate her birthday triumph.
“It’s been a really cool day, obviously nice to win on my birthday, but I was just really happy to make the final and go out and do my best,” Franklin said.
“I’m not a massive fan of these venues to be honest, I do like Prague for the atmosphere, so I think here I just wanted to keep trying to progress on what I’ve done over the years.”
It was good day for France, with 24-year-old Marjorie Delassus picking up her first senior world cup medal with a silver behind Franklin, while Czech Martina Satkova repeated her bronze-medal performance of Prague one week ago.
Fox, chasing her seventh gold medal from eight finals on the Krakow course, had to settle for fifth after her gate mistake. The big shock in the women’s event was the failure of Czech Tereza Fiserova, last week’s winner in Prague, to qualify for Sunday’s final.
In the men’s final the error-free run by Gestin proved the difference, with both Savsek and Great Britain’s Adam Burgess picking up two second penalties for gate touches. The penalties slipped the Slovenian to second and Burgess to third.
2016 Olympic champion Denis Gargaud Chanut picked up four seconds in penalties, which dropped him from a potential gold to sixth overall. There was also a first senior finals appearance for Senegal’s Jean Pierre Bourhis, who finished 10th.
In extreme slalom, Czech Tereza Fiserova once again crossed the finish line first in the women’s final, but was disqualified for not rounding a gate. Dutch paddler Martina Wegman took the gold, with Australia’s Noemie Fox second and Ukraine’s Viktoriia Us third.
There were three British paddlers in the men’s extreme final, with Chris Bowers breaking through for his first senior world cup gold medal. Slovenia’s Vid Kuder Marusic took silver, and reigning world champion Joe Clarke the bronze.
1. FRANKLIN Mallory (GBR) 103.31 (2seconds penalty)
2. DELASSUS Marjorie (FRA) 104.48 (2)
3. SATKOVA Martina (CZE) 107.83 (2)
1. GESTIN Nicolas (FRA) 93.14 (0)
2. SAVSEK Benjamin (SLO) 93.18 (2)
3. BURGESS Adam (GBR) 93.49 (2)
WOMEN’S EXTREME KAYAK
1. WEGMAN Martina (NED)
2. FOX Noemie (AUS)
3. US Viktoriia (UKR)
MEN’S EXTREME KAYAK
1. BOWERS Christopher (GBR)
2. KUDER MARUSIC Vid (SLO)
3. CLARKE Joseph (GBR)