Fontane and Tula set the bar ahead of freestyle finals

Spain’s Joaquim Fontane is one step closer to defending his kayak surface world title he won two years ago, after qualifying first for Saturday’s semi-finals in front of his home crowd at the 2019 canoe freestyle world championships in Sort, Spain.

Poland’s Zofia Tula set the benchmark in the women’s quarter finals and will chase her first world title under lights on Saturday.

Fontane posted a total score of 2861.67, with former world champion Dane Jackson finishing second with 2561.67. It was the same result in the world championship final in Argentina in 2017, with the Spaniard shading the American in a thrilling finale.

“My goal was just to get through, it’s always the goal,” Fontane said.

“This river is very special for me, it taught me the basics of freestyle. This river is not going to fail me – we have a special relationship, and I hope it will take me to the end.

“Honestly, I thought that I would feel less pressure here, but at the end of the day, I feel just as nervous. You’re just as scared when you see the other guys throw down their rides, and you have to go out and beat their rides.”

Teenage C1 gold medalist, Tom Dolle, qualified third. The 18-year-old Frenchman recorded 2093.34.

Poland’s Zofia Tula, fourth in the women’s kayak surface final at the 2017 ICf world championships, maintained her consistency by qualifying first for Saturday’s gold medal contest.

Tula said she is a much different paddler than two years ago.

“I’m more careful with my moves, I try to do it straight, because in Argentina I tried to do a lot of moves, and not all of them counted,” Tula said.

“Today was quite hard for me, at the beginning I felt quite a bit of stress and my first run was not very good. But in the last one I could see I was through, so I just tried to do my moves and it was my best.

“It is difficult, I need to be focussed all the time. It’s not important for me to go through as number one, because sometimes I stress when I have girls in front of me.”

Tula posted a score of 973.34, to finish ahead of Germany’s Anne Huebner on 950, with France’s Marlene Devillez third on 870.

Pics by Bence Vekassy

Poland Zofia Tula freestyle world championships Sort 2019

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