Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Jessica Fox took her Games form to the whitewater of La Seu, Spain, on Sunday with a mesmerising ICF canoe slalom world cup performance.

The Australian took gold in the women’s C1 final by more than six seconds, to add to the K1 gold she won on Saturday. Exciting young Spanish paddler Miquel Trave took the gold in the men’s C1, his first race in a senior men’s event.

Fox was fantastic all weekend on the 1992 Olympic Course in La Seu d'Urgell, and on Sunday she navigated the rapids faultlessly and stopped the clock at 93.07.

She was more than six seconds faster than Czech canoeist Tereza Fišerova, while Nuria Vilarrubla from Spain picked up the bronze medal on her home course.

The time Fox produced in the final was so fast that she would have finished seventh in Sunday’s men's canoe final. She was one second up in the first split time, but then pushed strong in the second part of the course.

"I think it is hard to make time on the top. I really wanted to be solid and safe in the gates, not get any penalties," Fox said.

"Once I got through the middle section I was a little bit low in the upright under the bridge, but tried to keep the speed. I have no arms left, I really pushed hard."

21-year-old Trave was the Spanish hero of the day. He not only won his first world cup medal, he won the race ahead of former C1 world champions David Florence from Great Britain and Franz Anton from Germany.

The canoeist from the local Cadi club in La Seu d'Urgell was the fastest in the semifinal, but did not feel much pressure starting last in the final.

"I used to like to be the last one. It's the pressure that I love. Obviously, it was at home, I knew I could do it well. I tried my best and I did really good," Trave said.

"It's my third or fourth race here at home. I am really happy. I had one touch at the top, but I followed the plan, I was calm. It's good."

The course setting proved to be a real challenge for many top athletes. Olympic champion Benjamin Savšek, reigning world champion Cedric Joly, Ander Elosegi, Kimberley Woods and Ana Satila are just a few of the favourites who stayed outside the final.

In extreme slalom, the Czech Republic's Martina Satkova won the women's kayak event after the crucial last part of the course, where she managed to pull off a win ahead of Luuka Jones from New Zealand and Brazilian Ana Satila.

In the men's extreme slalom competition, French Olympian Boris Neveu took the win in his first extreme slalom World Cup performance of the 2021 season. Austrian Mario Leitner was second and Swiss representative Manuel Munsch third. 

The Canoe Slalom World Cup series now moves to Pau, France, where the World Cup Final is on the programme next week.

Words and pics by Nina Jelenc

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