American gold rush on opening day of freestyle titles

Veteran Clay Wright led an American gold rush on the opening day of the ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships in Sort, Spain, as the 2019 ICF canoe freestyle championships got underway.

Teammate Rose Wall broke through for her first women’s squirt world title, posting an incredible 1493.33 to finish ahead of Japan’s Hitomi Takaku, who repeated her silver-medal winning performance from two years ago in Argentina.

Takaku posted a 1080 on her second ride, while outstanding junior Ottilie Robinson-Shaw took the bronze with a 780 posted on her opening ride.

Wall finished fifth at the previous world championships in 2017 and built her win around a strong series of mystery moves.

“I really like doing mysteries,” Wall said.

“I go squirt boating to do mystery moves a lot, so that’s pretty cool. When I competed in Argentina it was all about the freestyle, which is not my strong suit.

“So it’s kind of cool with the rule changes and this arena, that catered more for the mystery moves.”

52-year-old Wright once again displayed all his tricks to defend the men’s squirt gold he won in San Juan in 2017.

In a repeat of the result from Argentina, Wright pipped Great Britain’s Alex Edwards for the gold. Wright’s score was 1500, with Edwards posting 1066.67 on his second ride.

“A big reason for me to come here is to see what other people can do, and try and learn some stuff,” Wright said.

“It’s always fun to win and have someone give you a medal, but I think the best part is trying to push yourself to be the best, and see what other people in other countries are doing.”

Another Brit, Sam Wilson, finished third with 943.33.

Action at the freestyle world championships resumes on Monday.

USA Rose Wall freestyle squirt Sort 2019

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