Great Britain’s Joe Clarke won his first ever world title and Australia’s Jessica Fox returned to the top K1 podium for the first time since 2018 on a thrilling day of racing at the ICF Slalom Championships at Lee Valley, London, on Saturday.

Clarke spoke of redemption after missing the final in front of home fans in 2015, and then losing Olympic selection at the 2019 world championships in 2019. On Saturday he was almost two seconds quicker than the next fastest paddler in the K1 semi-finals, and then posted a similar margin in the final.

Clarke won Olympic K1 gold in 2016 and missed selection for Tokyo. In winning his first ever individual world championship medal he has almost certainly guaranteed he will return to the Olympics in Paris.

“It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been there and thereabouts so many times, but penalties have always taken that medal away from me, so to come here, do two clean and very fast runs today at home makes it that little bit more special, the icing on the cake, and here we are – loving it,” Clarke said.

“You probably saw my celebration through the finish, that wasn’t just because of the world title, that was also a celebration for all the hard work. One of the quotes that got me through was that tough times don’t last, but tough people do, and I think I’ve shown that today.”

Defending Olympic and world champion, Jiri Prskavec, took the silver, while Morocco’s Mathis Soudi made history by winning a first ever world championship medal for his country and for Africa.

Jessica Fox finally found her way back to the top of the podium for the first time in women’s K1 since 2018, in the process bringing up her 10th overall world title. The Australian had to work hard for the gold, picking up an early gate touch and then almost capsizing on the bottom of the course.

“It meant a lot, there’s been such a big build up this week, and 2018 was my last world title, and there was a lot of emotion because that run was full of emotion. I let it all out at the finish, all the joy, all the emotion,” Fox said.

“I couldn’t really hear the loud speaker, but I could hear the intensity of the crowd so I knew it was a pretty good run, and I was really pulling hard right until the end. I was hoping it would be enough for a podium, I didn’t know about the win, but I was giving it everything and you have to keep going to the finish and never give up. I’m really proud to have been able to do that today.

“I’m always pleased to be battling it out with the best, and to be consistently up there and be on the podium. This one is world title number 10, which is a really special one. I’ve been chasing this one for a long time and it just means so much to me.”

Slovakia’s Eliska Mintalova followed her world cup gold in La Seu with silver on Saturday, while Poland’s Klaudia Zwolinska took the bronze.

Another 15 Olympic quotas were determined on Saturday for both the men’s and women’s K1. Subject to ratification, the men’s quotas will go to Great Britain, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Switzerland, Morocco, Australia, Slovenia, Poland, Spain, China, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, and Slovakia.

The big surprise from the men’s K1 is the failure of Germany, a four-time Olympic champion, to earn a quota for the Paris Olympics.

In the women’s K1, and subject to ratification, the quotas will provisionally be awarded to Germany, New Zealand, Poland, Italy, Slovakia, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Great Britain, France Czech Republic, Brazil, Austria, Slovenia, Japan and Australia.

The 2023 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships will finish on Sunday with the men’s and women’s kayak cross.



  1. FOX Jessica            (AUS) 103.60 (2 seconds in penalties)
  2. MINTALOVA Eliska (SVK) 104.73 (2)
  3. ZWOLINSKA Klaudia (POL) 105.00 (0)


  1. CLARKE Joseph (GBR) 91.32 (0)
  2. PRSKAVEC Jiri (CZE) 93.26 (0)
  3. SOUDI Mathis  (MOR) 93.91 (0)

Australia Jess Fox Lee Valley 2023

Canoe Slalom