After the third competition day at the 2022 ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships in Ivrea we have all the semi-finalists and the names of those who will fight for the medals on Friday and Saturday. In today's heats Evy Leibfarth and Zuzana Pankova dominated the women's part of the junior events. Stepan Venc and David Staffen were the fastest in men's junior kayak and canoe heats.

The defending women's K1 junior World Champion Evy Leibfarth from the United States of America showed she will be again one of the main contenders for the gold medal on Saturday when the women's junior K1 semi-final and final are on the programme. She finished the heats in the first position, 0.09 seconds ahead of Zuzana Pankova. The Slovak representative was even faster on the Dora Baltea River but picked up four penalty seconds which pushed her to second place. Polish kayaker Dominika Brzeska was third in the first stage of the competition.

Evy, who is one of the most experienced and decorated paddlers here in Ivrea and has medals also from the senior World Cups, World Championships and Pan American Games, was happy after the successful first run:

I had a really solid run, Zuzana had a really fast run, she just had a couple of touches. But all of us were pretty tight, which is really fun to see."

The course it's pretty open, there is a lot of sprinting on the course, there is not a lot of technical moves. I think they are saving those for the semis. That makes all the times tight and it's a really good heats course."

Leibfarth and Pankova were in the spotlight of afternoon's junior canoe heats again. This time Pankova produced a penalty free run and won in the heats half a second ahead of Leibfarth. Czech canoeist Klara Kneblova, the defending champion in this event, was third in the heats.

Zuzana Pankova SVK Slovakia 2022 ICF Canoe Kayak Slalom Junior & U23 World Championships Ivrea Italy

Pankova was satisfied at the end of the day:

I am happy with my performances. In the first run I had two penalties and I tried to clean that up. I did that and I am happy."

Stepan Venc was the winner of men's junior kayak heats. Young Czech paddler started in the middle of the heats with a bib 38, but his run was so good he remained at the top until the very last athlete on the start.

It's my first World Championships and I am really happy I managed to qualify without any huge problems. I prefer starting in the middle of the race, it gives me time to watch the others and the best with the lowest numbers. It's amazing, I enjoy it a lot," said Venc.

The biggest French hope for the medal in this event - Titouan Castryck - was second after he picked up two penalty seconds, and Croatian Roko Bengeri was third.

David Staffen SVK Slovakia 2022 ICF Canoe Kayak Slalom Junior & U23 World Championships Ivrea Italy

The similar thing happened in men's junior canoe heats. Slovak canoeist David Staffen was the fifth athlete to start in the heats and stayed at the top until the end. Two Czech canoeists were behind him, Michal Urban was two seconds slower, and Lukaš Kratochvil was two and a half seconds behind on third place.

I did not expect this. This is my second World Championships and I was really surprised. My run was great, fast, but most importantly clean," said Staffen.

On Friday, four sets of medals will be awarded. The morning part of the programme brings men's and women's kayak U23 semi-finals and finals, while in the afternoon juniors in men's and women's canoe will be in the spotlight. Both semi-final and final runs are scheduled.

Canoe Slalom