Europe's biggest names to the fore on day one of slalom titles

The first competition day of the 2018 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Prague is over, with most of the favourites fulfilling their goals and advancing to the semifinals.

But the day wasn't without some drama. Last year’s European Championships medallists Nadine Weratschnig and Thomas Koechlin failed to qualify for their semifinals.

Kašpar – Šindler were the fastest in men’s C2 heats, Mallory Franklin in C1W event, Jiri Prskavec in K1M, Fiona Pennie in K1W and Sideris Tasiadis in C1M heats.

Many of the C2 crews are finishing their canoe slalom careers after this European Championships, with C2 having been removed from the World Championships and World Cup programmes. Czech crew Jonaš Kašpar – Marek Šindler produced the best time on their home course. Only 0.28 seconds behind them was German duo Robert Behling Thomas Becker, while Filip and Andrzej Brzezinski from Poland finished the heats in third place.

The first surprise of the day came in women’s C1, where 2017 European Championships bronze medallist Nadine Weratschnig failed to advance to the semifinal. She was not the only excellent canoeist to stay outside the top 20 though. The first ever world champion in C1 women’s event, Katerina Havličkova (previously known as Hoškova), will also be missing on Saturday, as well as German paddler Andrea Herzog.

The fastest athlete of the heats was not surprising. British paddler Mallory Franklin set the fastest time of the day in women’s canoe, followed by last year’s silver medallist Tereza Fišerova from Czech Republic and German Lena Stoecklin. The course was really demanding as none of the girls in this event managed to produce a clean run without any penalty seconds.

Czech Jiri Prskavec continued the tradition from previous international canoeing events held here in Prague when Czech paddlers occupied the top positions in the men's K1. He was a little over a second faster than Austrian representative Felix Oschmautz and Peter Kauzer from Slovenia finished the first race of the championships in third place.

In women’s kayak heats it was Fionna Pennie from Great Britain who crossed the finish line with the best time. The 35-year-old has good memories of this course. In 2006 at the World Championships in Prague she picked up the silver medal. Corinna Kuhnle from Austria was second in the heats and Klaudia Zwolinska from Poland third.

In the last event of the day men’s canoe heats – London 2012 medallist Sideris Tasiadis from Germany finished the race in front of reigning World Champion Benjamin Savšek from Slovenia and multiple Olympic medallist David Florence from Great Britain. Last year’s silver medallist, Thomas Koechlin from Switzerland, failed to advance to the semifinal, after finishing his first run in 18th place and the second run in 8th.

On Saturday we will see semifinal and final runs in C2M, C1W and K1M individual events as well as team races in previously mentioned categories.

HEATS results

C2M

1. Jonaš Kašpar – Marek Šindler CZE

2. Robert Behling Thomas Becker GER

3. Filip Brzezinski Andrzej Brzezinski POL

C1W

1. Mallory Franklin GBR

2. Tereza Fišerova CZE 3. Lena Stoecklin GER

K1M

1. Jiri Prskavec CZE

2. Felix Oschmautz AUT

3. Peter Kauzer SLO

K1W

1. Fiona Pennie GBR

2. Corinna Kuhnle AUT

3. Klaudia Zwolinska POL

C1M

1. Sideris Tasiadis GER

2. Benjamin Savšek SLO

3. David Florence GBR

Here are the full results: https://siwidata.com/canoelive/#/live/eca/1373

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