Four first-time world champions were crowned and more history was made on the penultimate day of the ICF Junior and U23 world championships in Krakow on Saturday.

Xabier Ferrazzi, the son of 1992 Olympic K1 gold medalist Pierpaolo, took the men’s junior K1 crown for Italy, while Bara Galuskova emulated her big sister, Antonie, in winning the women’s junior K1 title for the Czech Republic.

In U23 competition, Sona Stanovska won her first world title in the women’s C1, while Jules Bernardet also collected his first world title by winning the men’s C1 race.

History was made on Saturday when Slovenia’s Ziga Lin Hocevar finished third in the men’s junior K1, making him the first male athlete to win a medal in both the K1 and C1 at a single world championships at any level.

Ferrazzi went into the junior K1 final as a warm favourite after posting the quickest time in the heats, and the second fastest run in the semi-finals. He carried that form into the final with an error-free run.

“I can’t believe it, the run was really good, I had a lot of fun. It’s incredible,” Ferrazzi said.

“I was nervous, but compared to the semis I was pretty calm. So I was in good shape for my run. My father is my coach, so we talked a lot, he said you just have to go as you do in training.

“I did a lot of work in the past years, so it is now paying enough. Both my dad and my mum teach me a lot, so I think I am quite lucky.”

It was Italy’s first junior K1 gold since 2010. Silver went to France’s Martin Cornu, and bronze to Hocevar, to add to the C1 gold he won on Friday.

Czech Bara Galuskova Krakow 2023

Antonie Galuskova won junior world K1 titles in 2017 and 2019, and was standing on the side of the river on Saturday when her 16-year-old sister, Bara, also became a champion. Galuskova benefitted from posting a clean run, with both the minor medalists picking up two second penalties which denied them the gold.

“I have no words for this, it’s crazy, I could never dream about this,” Bara Galuskova said.

“I was just thinking maybe I could make the finals. I’m so happy I could share this moment with my family, and my sister.”

Czech teammate Klara Kneblova took the silver, while Germany’s C1 junior world champion, Paulina Pirro, finished with the bronze.

Slovakia Sona Stanovska Krakow 2023

Before Saturday Slovakia had never won a women’s U23 C1 world title, taking two bronze and a silver at the past three world championships.

But in her farewell appearance at an U23 level Sona Stanovska broke through for the biggest win of her career, laying down a faultless run to finish just over half a second ahead of Czech Tereza Kneblova.

“It’s incredible, because I was always just second and third, and now I finally have a title. It’s an amazing feeling, I came to the finish line and I couldn’t believe how good my time was,” Stanovska said.

“We had Covid so for the last few years I couldn’t race because we could not race as a Slovak team, so I missed two or three years. This was my last chance and I made gold – I have no words.

“Now I have incredible form, even the past three races I was going well, but I always had some gate touches which pushed me out of the medal position, but now today, it’s finally here.”

American Evy Leibfarth followed her gold medal performance in the K1 24 hours earlier by posting the quickest raw time in the C1 final, but a gate touch and a two-second penalty dropped her to the bronze medal position.

France had won the past three men’s U23 C1 world titles going into Saturday, and with three athletes in the final, including the defending world champion, the country was a strong chance of continuing its incredible run.

In the end it was Jules Bernardet, competing at his final U23 competition and without ever winning a world title, who took the gold. Even with a gate touch, Bernardet finished more than one second clear of Great Britain’s Kurts Rozentals.

“This is my last season in U23, so I’m really happy,” Bernardet said.

“It is my last, I have never won, so this was really important for me.”

Slovenia’s Nejc Polencic finished third. Defending champion Mewen Debliquy posted the quickest raw time, but with three gate touches and six seconds in penalties the Frenchman slipped to fifth place.


Men’s U23 C1

  1. BERNARDET Jules (FRA) 89.58 (2 seconds in penalties)
  2. ROZENTALS Kurts (GBR) 90.68 (0)
  3. POLENCIC Nejc (SLO) 91.24 (0)

Women’s U23 C1

  1. STANOVSKA Sona (SVK) 96.55 (0)
  2. KNEBLOVA Tereza (CZE) 97.12 (0)
  3. LEIBFARTH Evy (USA) 97.34 (2)

Men’s Junior K1

  1. FERRAZZI Xabier  (ITA) 81.77 (0)
  2. CORNU Martin   (FRA) 82.77 (0)
  3. HOCEVAR Ziga Lin (SLO) 83.31 (0)

Women’s Junior K1

  1. GALUSKOVA Bara (CZE) 97.98 (0)
  2. KNEBLOVA Klara (CZE) 98.44 (2)
  3. PIRRO Paulina (GER) 98.72 (2)

Pics by Damiano Benedetto

France Jules Bernardet Krakow 2023

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