Slovenian wonder kid Ziga Lin Hocevar became European champion at the age of just 16 after a stunning performance on home water in Tacen.

Hocevar finished fourth in the men’s K1 final before capturing the men’s C1 crown at the European Canoe Association Canoe Slalom European Championships.

His sensational victory comes 28 years after his father Simon won the European title in the same event in 1996.

It is Hocevar’s first senior gold medal having been crowned junior world champion in the men’s C1 in Krakow, Poland last year.

"It feels amazing,” said Hocevar.

“It is the biggest victory of my life.

“It is unbelievable.

“I never thought this is going to happen this year.

“I just hope maybe one day I will win a professional race.

“It happened this year.

“It is the best day of my life.”

It was a Slovenian one-two-three with Hocevar coming out on top against his more experienced teammates in Luka Bozic and Benjamin Savsek who are first and second respectively on the world ranking list.

Bozic is last year's overall International Canoe Federation Canoe Slalom World Cup winner, while Savsek is the reigning world and Olympic champion.

Hocevar triumphed in 90.32, finishing 0.84 ahead of Bozic and 1.07 in front of Savesk who picked up two penalties.

The trio delivered gold for Slovenia in the men’s C1 team event, beating Czechia and Slovakia.

Czechia emerged victorious from the women’s C1 team competition, overcoming hosts Slovenia and Great Britain who came second and third respectively.

Germany’s two-time world champion Andrea Herzog won her first European crown with victory in the women’s C1.

After two silvers and one bronze, Herzog finally took top spot at the European Championships in a time of 101.24, beating Czechia’s Gabriela Satkova and France’s Marjorie Delassus.

It was a big boost for Herzog who had just missed out on a place in the German Olympic team for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

"It's great,” said Herzog, an Olympic bronze medallist.

“A couple of weeks ago I just missed the Olympic spot in my federation, so this year I won't be at the Olympics again and I was really, really sad.

“I thought this European Championships and the next World Cups would turn out good.

“Now it is a really, really good start.

“I know that I am good, that is a good feeling.”

On Saturday, Klaudia Zwolinska of Poland and Giovanni De Gennaro of Italy won the respective women’s K1 and men’s K1 titles.

Zwolinska clocked 95.77 to take top spot as young Slovak kayaker Zuzana Pankova came second and Great Britain’s Mallory Franklin clinched bronze.

De Gennaro, a silver medallist in 2021 and 2022, also won his first senior European crown.

The 31-year-old Italian triumphed in 86.56, beating Austria’s Mario Leitner and Switzerland’s Gelindo Chiarello.

Czechia European Canoe Slalom Championships 2024

Slovenia overcame France and Czechia to win women’s K1 team gold.

Czech got the better of Austria and France to secure top honours in the men’s K1 team event.

There was delight for Switzerland’s Alena Marx and Great Britain’s Joseph Clarke in the respective women’s and men’s Kayak Cross events.

Camille Prigent of France and Nikita Setchell of Great Britain came second and third respectively behind Marx.

The men’s event was won by Clarke as Jan Rohrer of Switzerland claimed silver and Spain’s David Llorente earned bronze.

"It means a lot,” said Clarke.

“Having world titles it's always nice to back it up with the European titles, especially this year, with it being the biggest race of the season apart from the Olympic Games.

“It's good to have a season off to a great start.

History was made at the European Championships as Kayak Cross individual events were on the medal programme for the first time.

Czechia’s Vit Prindis won the men’s title in 49.21, defeating Jonny Dickson of Great Britain and Switzerland’s Martin Dougoud who clocked 50.16 and 50.87 respectively.

Marx finished with two golds in Tacen as she also took the men’s Kayak Cross individual title.

The Swiss paddler crossed in 56.37 to be crowned champion as Klaudia Zwolinska of Poland came second in 56.59 and French ace Prigent snapped up bronze in 57.05.

Related links

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross