New champions at Euros

The last day of the 2016 ECA European Canoe Slalom Championships in Liptovsky Mikulaš, Slovakia, brought us new names at the top of the European Championships podium. Melanie Pfeifer (GER) won gold medal in women’s kayak final and Tomaš Kučera – Jan Batik (SVK) picked up gold in men’s C2. The last Olympic quota in women’s K1 went to Ukraine and men’s C2 quota to Switzerland. 

German kayaker Melanie Pfeifer was the last one to qualify for the finals after finishing semifinal run in 10th place. She then started the first in the final and remained in the top position until the very end of women’s kayak event. 

“I was funny to be the first at the start, but I normally try not to listen what other competitors do anyway. I just tried to focus on my run. It was good. The course was very difficult and today was very cold so it was not easy to be warm at the start. I like difficult courses,” said Pfeifer.

This is the third individual medal at European Championships for Melanie Pfeifer – first gold. She was second in 2012 and 2014.

Urša Kragelj (SLO), who won bronze at Europeans in Bratislava, 2010, picked up a silver medal this time, and Jana Dukatova (SVK), 2010 European Champion, was third. 

Semfinal run was decisive for the remaining Olympic Quota in Women’s K1. It all came down to a fight between Ukraine and Netherlands. Martina Wegman (NED) produced a penalty free run but made a big mistake in the last part of the course which resulted in major loss of time, while Viktoriia Us (UKR) picked up four penalty seconds but managed to finish the race three places ahead of Wegman to secure a ticket to Rio for the Ukrainian team. In men’s C2 Swiss duo Lukas Werro – Simon Werro finished the semifinal run one place ahead of Italians Camporesi – Ferrari to book a ticket for Switzerland. 

Slovakian fans again saw their boat in the top place. Tomaš Kučera and Jan Batik produced an excellent run to win their first individual gold medal at senior level Championships. They have had four medal from the teams event at European Championships, but they have never experienced a podium feelings at individual events of the Championships before. 

“We already had one European title, but it was in the under 23 category. Now it's our first senior title, so it's much bigger achievement. Before the race we met a lot of people who told us: ‘You are at home, let's win it’. It was nervous but it went perfectly for us and we are very happy,” said Tomaš Kučera. 

Jan Batik added: “Even in the semifinal we showed very good and powerful race. We said each other that we will have another one like that in the final and we made it. We didn't follow our opponents from the national team who were competing for the Olympics. We only wanted to show our qualities.”

Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat (SLO) were second and David Schroeder – Nico Bettge (GER) third.

Individual races were followed by team events. Fiona Pennie, Kimberley Woods and Elizabeth Neave won gold medal for Great Britain, Germany (Melanie Pfeifer, Lisa Fritsche, Jasmin Schornerg) was seconds and Slovakia (Jana Dukatova, Elena Kaliska, Kristina Nevarilova) was third in women’s kayak team race.

Ladislav Škantar – Peter Škantar, Pavol Hochschorner – Peter Hochschorner, Tomaš Kučera – Jan Batik picked a gold for Slovakia in men’s C2 team event, Poland (Szczepanski – Pochwala, Brzezinski – Brzezinski, Wiercioch – Majerczak) was second and Germany (David Schroeder – Nico Bettge, Franz Anton – Jan Benzien, Kai Mueller – Kevin Mueller) was third.

 

 

 

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