Junior first-timer and defending champ take freestyle gold

A teenager competing at his first international event and a defending world champion took the honours on the penultimate day of competition at the 2019 ICF canoe freestyle world championships in Sort, Spain, on Friday.

Two years after causing a major boilover at the 2017 world championships, Great Britain’s Ottilie Robinson-Shaw proved once again she is the best junior female paddler on the planet with a convincing gold medal performance in Sort.

“I think I had more confidence in myself, and I think that’s what I lacked in Argentina,” Robinson-Shaw said.

“I didn’t think I could do it until the last night, and then it happened. But until that moment when I believed, it wasn’t going to happen.”

17-year-old Robinson-Shaw recorded 536.67 on her first ride in the final, with USA’s Olivia McGinnis taking the silver with 340. Another American, Katie Fankhouser, took the bronze with 336.67.

Mason Hargrove did not know what to expect when he arrived in Sort for his first ever international competition, but he showed he belongs with the best with a commanding gold-medal performance in the men’s junior final.

16-year-old Hargrove, who grew up wanting to be like three-time world champion, Dane Jackson, posted a massive 960 points on his first ride, a score that proved enough for the title.

“I’m so stoked, I just came out here to have fun, and I got the win,” Hargrove said.

“I was a little kid watching the sport, watching Dane throw down big rides, and I knew I wanted to do that one day. With a bunch of hard work I got here, I’m so happy to have got the win.

“It’s definitely nerve-wracking, but I’m just so happy for my friends, even if they had beaten me.”

Fellow American Dally Kellogg took the silver with 810 points, while Jack Newland won Australia’s first-ever junior freestyle medal, finishing third with 660 points.

Pics by Bence Vekassy

USA Mason Hargrove freestyle world championships Sort 2019

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