For the first time in the history of Canoe Slalom European Championships we have joint European champions, with Eliška Mintalova and Stefanie Horn in women's K1 posting exactly the same time, while Jiri Prskavec won a record fifth title in men's kayak.

Mintalova from Slovakia and Horn from Italy were crowned European Champions at Liptovsky Mikulaš, Slovakia. This is the first time two athletes stood on the highest podium position at any canoe slalom European Championships.

23-year-old Slovak canoe slalom paddler Mintalova started in the middle of the final as she finished the semifinal run in sixth place. She had a penalty free final run and stayed in the leading position until the very last athlete on the start line - Italian Horn.

German-born Horn was the fastest in the semifinal and when she crossed the finish line she produced exactly the same time as Mintalova, so it became clear they will share the top podium position and celebration in the Slovak and Italian teams could begin.

After the great success in her home country Mintalova was a bit shy speaking in English, "I am very happy because I am European Champion and this is my home course. It's a special emotion for me. Everything was very good and I was focusing just on my run."

Horn was over the moon too after her biggest individual success so far. She added individual European gold medal to her two silvers from 2013 European Championships in Krakow and 2017 Championships in Ljubljana - Tacen.

"I had a really difficult winter this year," she said.

"Starting the last with such a great time in the semifinal, I had some pressure, but I am really happy. I am in love with Liptovsky, because I got to know my husband here. I love paddling here, it feels like flying under the bridge and there is big adrenaline, but when you go down it's really nice, it's beautiful.

"My final run in contrast to my semifinal run was slower, because I did not enter in the right strokes, it was less fluent."

Mallory Franklin from Great Britain picked up the bronze medal, her second medal of this championships as she was part of the British silver women's K1 team.

Surprisingly, German star Ricarda Funk, reigning Olympic and world champion failed to advance to the final after she made too many mistakes on a demanding semifinal course.

The men's kayak final also brought an historic moment. 29-year-old Jiri Prskavec was unbeatable both in trhe semifinal and final and he won his fifth European Champion title, which makes him the most decorated male kayaker at European Championships.

With this achievement, he shares the five European wins with legendary Slovak kayaker Elena Kaliska, and is one European Champion title behind Slovak twins Peter and Pavol Hochschorner who were European Champions in men's C2 six times.

"I don't think anybody could expect to double it again. I wasn't event hoping for such a great result," said Prskavec, who repeated his success from 2016 when Europeans were held at the same course and he won individual and team gold medal.

"I am super happy that Liptovsky Mikulaš is one of my best courses, I have good races here. I am really happy about it. The problem today wasn't only the hard course but also the wind, which was making it much harder.

"I managed to have a good line and maybe I was a bit lucky in the final that the wind wasn't so bad. I managed to put down a good run and I am European Champion."

Italian kayaker Giovanni De Gennaro won the silver medal for an exciting day for the Italian team as well as De Gennaro family. His sister in law is Stefanie Horn, who won the European champion title just an hour before De Gennaro repeated his silver success from last year's European Championships in Ivrea.

Austrian Felix Oschamutz was third. This is the first individual medal at senior championships for Oschamutz, who was 2017 junior world champion.

On Sunday, the championships will conclude with women's and men's C1 semifinal and final runs and extreme slalom final phase.


Nina Jelenc/ECA

Czech Republic Jiri Prskavec kayak gold European Liptovsky 2022

Canoe Slalom