Teenagers Antonie Galuskova and Nejc Polencic bid farewell to their junior paddling career with gold medals on Friday at the 2019 ICF junior and U23 canoe slalom world championships in Krakow, Poland.

For Galuskova it was a return to the top of the podium, while Polencic finally broke through for gold after making two successive championship finals.

Galuskova celebrated her final year in the junior class with a win in the K1, despite a gate touch. The Czech was lucky to scrape into the final in 10th position. She said missing the podium in 2018 may have helped her.

“I think it was good for me,” she said.

“Maybe it was a little bit painful at first, but I got over it and I knew it would help me in the future. I just wanted to have fun here, but it actually wasn’t much fun because I nearly missed the final.

“And in the final I thought with my touch, I would regret it. But it was fast.”

Galuskova finished with 100.91, with Slovenia’s Eva Alina Hocevar second in 102.00. 15-year-old American Evy Leibfarth continued her dream year with a bronze medal in 102.35. Six seconds of penalties kept Leibfarth of the top of the podium.

After two years of making junior finals with winning a medal, Nejc Polencic broke through to win C1 gold in a time of 98.47, even with four seconds of penalties

“This is my first podium, I’m really happy. I made a few mistakes, but it was enough,” he said.

“I had two touches, but when I crossed the line I saw the time and I was happy. I knew after me there were only three paddlers.

“After last season I got a new coach, but I didn’t know how fast I was. I didn’t make the finals at the European championships. It’s amazing to finish my junior career as champion.”

Host nation Poland picked up their second silver medal of the day, with Szymon Nowobilski finishing in 99.22, while Frenchman Adrien Fisher took bronze in 99.26.

Slovenia <a href='/webservice/athleteprofile/72626' data-id='72626' target='_blank' class='athlete-link'>Nejc Polencic</a>

Canoe Slalom
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