Czechs show their strength on opening day of Wildwater World Championships

Czech Ondrej Rolenc, already a three-time wildwater sprint world champion, has broken through for his first ICF C1 Classic world title in the mountains of Muotathal in Switzerland.

And fellow Czech paddler Martina Satkova enjoyed a golden day in Switzerland, winning both the K1 and C1 classic world titles.

Rolenc feared the tricky conditions would not be to his liking on Thursday, but he showed his versatility with a strong start-to-finish run that gave him a nine-second buffer on his next closest opponent.

“For me this is more important because it’s my first win in the classic race,” Rolenc said.

“I’ve won the three sprint world titles, so for me this is very satisfying.”

Rolenc was nine seconds faster than Frenchman Louis Lapointe.

Czech Ondrej Rolenc

Satkova came to Switzerland hoping to regain her C1 classic world title and looking for a strong performance in the K1, and ended up winning both.

“I’m very satisfied with that run, it’s my first ever classic K1, so this is the most beautiful race result for me,” she said.

“This river is really hard, but I really love wildwater. It’s perfect here. The waves are strong, but the nature is beautiful and the water is clean.

“I’m in love with this country. It’s perfect.”

Satkova finished more than 17 seconds ahead of Frenchwoman Manon Hostens in the K1. Hostens travelled straight to Muotathal from the canoe sprint world cup in Duisburg last weekend.

Satkova was also almost 12 seconds ahead of Italy’s Cecilia Panato in the C1.

Slovenia’s Simon Oven showed his liking for the Muotathal course with a win in the men’s K1 classic, in the process becoming the first Slovenian to win a World title in the men’s K1 classic.

“Last year I won the World Cup here, so I knew I could do really well,” he said.

“The water is really good, there were lots of waves and stoppers, so you can have lots of fun.

“It’s a really special feeling to know that you are first in your country. We were aiming for the win and we did it.”

For the third time a French athlete took home the silver, this time Paul Jean in a time just over four seconds slower than Oven.

But the French finally broke through in the men’s C2, with Stephane Santamaria and Stephane Dazeur showing they are the premiere men’s C2 paddlers in the world with victory in the classic, to follow on from their sprint world title in Pau last year.

“It’s a short classic race compared to others,” Dazeur said.

“Usually they are 15 to 20 minutes, this one was only 12 minutes, so we have not time to waste, we have to paddle strong to keep the speed of the boat.

“If you waste just a few seconds, the boat slows down and it is very hard to get your speed back after that.”

Italy picked up a gold in the women’s C2, with Alice and Cecilia Panato getting the glory ahead of Germany’s Verena Sulzer and Maren Lutz.

The 2018 ICF Wildwater Canoe World Championships continue on Friday.

Simon Oven Slovenia Muotothal


Wildwater Canoeing