Beware Claire O'Hara when she's in the zone
Great Britain’s Claire O’Hara has confirmed herself as the greatest female freestyle kayaker on the planet with another golden world titles double, the third of her glittering career.
O’Hara not only won the women’s K1 title under lights at San Juan, Argentina, on Saturday night, she also set a new world record highest score of 925.
The K1 title follows her victory in the women’s squirt competition earlier in the week, adding to the double golds she won in 2011 and 2013 and giving her ten world championship titles in total.
The double also comes after a less than ideal preparation for the 36-year-old.
“It means the world to be honest,” O’Hara said.
“This is my goal for this year. I’ve had a lot of family stuff going on that not a lot of people know about, and I’ve not been training as committed as I normally would do.
“To do it this late in my career, I’ve been competing in World Championships since 2007. I’ve been on this scene for a long time, and I think that helps.”
France’s Marlene Devillez finished second with 886.67, and Japan’s Hitomi Takaku was third with 570.
After a week of struggling to hit her top form, O’Hara slipped straight into the groove with her 925 point first ride.
“Today was the first day where I felt ready,” she said.
“Just coming into today felt so perfect. The timing was truly right. I felt ready, I thought on the way here ‘this is it – I know my ride, I’m going flat out, I’m not taking it easy’.
“I was going to go for everything, and if it worked it worked, if it didn’t, well at least I tried.”
O’Hara was going for broke in the final, setting herself some of the most ambitious tricks in the sport as her opening gambit.
For any other freestyler it would have been a gamble, but O’Hara felt the time was right.
“Knowing that I was opening up with some of the hardest tricks, I don’t think any girls have ever scored with them in a world’s competition before, and I was going to open up with it,” she said.
“That in itself got me fired up and excited. I got that 925, it could have been more which would have been cool because I dropped a few tricks for sure during that routine.”
Just as the 2000 point barrier is a major goal for the men, 1000 points is a significant milestone for the women.
Pics by Peter Holcombe