Mirgorodsky again revels in absence of big-name Slovakian teammates

Slovakia’s Marko Mirgorodsky once again showed the canoeing world his enormous potential by qualifying fastest in the men’s C1 at the ICF U23 and Junior Canoe Slalom World Championships in Ivrea on Wednesday.

Also impressing in the stifling Italian heat were Brazil’s Ana Satila in the women’s U23 K1, Austria’s Nadine Weratschnig in the women’s U23 C1, and home crowd favourite Marcello Beda in the men’s U23 K1.

If Mirgorodsky paddled for almost any other country in the world he would be a household name.

But the 19-year-old is constantly in the shadow of some of the biggest names in the sport, all Slovakian and all world-beaters.

So it is only at junior and U23 level that Mirgorodsky gets the chance to take the limelight away from the likes of Benus, Slafkovsky and Martikan.

And he has taken every opportunity presented to him, winning two world junior C1 title, an under 23 world title as an 18-year-old last year, and then qualifying fastest on Wednesday.

His time of 82.15 was only 0.20 quicker than Czech Vaclav Chaloupka.

“Today was easy on the course, so I just paddled and it was good to finish first,” Mirgorodsky said.

“This is a big event, it’s very important for me. This year I also raced World Cups, which are also important, but the World Championships I think are the most important.”

Brazil’s Satila is one of the favourites for the women’s U23 K1, but said she was not entirely happy with her qualifying run despite posting the quickest time OF 89.39.

“I was feeling pretty good before the race started, and I managed to do quite a quick run,” Satila said.

“But I’m really disappointed about some easy mistakes, and I lost so much time. But I finished first, so that is a good way to start the competition.”

Weratschnig is looking to make a big statement in Ivrea after some disappointing results in the opening World Cups. Her U23 C1 qualifying time of 93.14 was 2.85 seconds ahead of the next fastest competitor.

“It’s like being on holiday here in Ivrea, the Italian feeling and everything,” Weratschnig said.

“I’m not happy with my year so far, because I am always out in the semi-finals. I’ve never had a really good run, but I hope that will change now.”

Beda was the only real surprise on Wednesday, but spurred on by a big and passionate Italian crowd he was able to post an error-free time of 79.74, to finish ahead of Austria’s Mario Leitner on 80.14.

Italy Marcello Beda Ivrea World Championships 2018

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