Olympic champion Benjamin Savsek and three-time Games medalist Jessica Fox posted the quickest times and moved a step closer to being crowned 2023 champions on day one of the ICF World Cup final at the Paris 2024 venue.

The final is also doubling as a final test event ahead of next year’s Games, and had an Olympic atmosphere on Thursday with hundreds of cheering schoolchildren packing the banks of the waterway.

The world cup final is worth double points, and with Savsek currently sitting third in the men’s C1, and Fox leading the women’s K1, they have set themselves up for a strong showing on medals day on Friday.

Adam Burgess showed an early liking for the Vaires-Sur-Marne Olympic course, declaring it one of his favourites after posting the fastest time on the opening run of the men’s C1 qualifiers on Thursday afternoon.

Burgess is in a tight battle with teammate and European champion Ryan Westley for GB’s Paris C1 quota, but is focused this week on making it onto the world cup final podium.

“I’m very happy to be on top for the first run, it’s a bit of a surprise to be honest because I thought there was quite a bit of time in it,” Burgess said.

“I’ve got raw pace and I didn’t lose too much time on the course. I love it here, if you’re a canoe slalom fan, if you like me and enjoy some of the artistry of the sport, this is the place. I prefer it to my home course, Lee Valley, actually, there’s way more variety of feature here.

“The atmosphere here is amazing, it gives us a bit of flavour of what to expect on the big day next year.”

Burgess was pipped for the overall fastest time by Savsek, his 95.15 seconds just shading Burgess’s 95.18. Slovakia’s Alexander Slafkovsky, who is still in the running at 40-years-of-age to qualify for his first Olympics, posted the third quickest time.

For the French team it is also an important selection event, the perfect time for Camille Prigent to put down the third fastest qualifying time in the women’s K1.

“I felt good, it was super nice having all the kids cheering for us. I was really nervous so I’m happy to get this run done,” Prigent said.

“It’s super stressful because this is our last race for the Olympic selection for the French team, so I want to do well. I hope I can keep paddling like this over the weekend.

“I used to not really like this course, but I’ve paddled here for a few years now and I’m starting to really enjoy it. There were some improvements done on the course, so I really like it now. I think it’s a bit bigger and more challenging. And also it’s my home course.”

Australia’s Fox, a silver medalist in London in 2012 and bronze medalist from Rio and Tokyo, was one of just two athletes to go under the 100 second mark. Her time of 97.97 just pipped Slovakia’s Eliska Mintalova on 98.36.

The semi-finals and finals of the men’s C1 and women’s K1 will be held on Friday morning, followed by the heats of the men’s K1 and women’s C1.

Full results from the world cup final can be found here.

To watch the racing live, click here.

Pics by Damiano Benedetto

Great Britain Adam Burgess Paris 2023

Canoe Slalom