Olympic fever hits slalom world cup in Germany

Germany’s Ricarda Funk almost certainly locked away her ticket to Tokyo and Slovakia’s Alexander Slafkovsky took a successful first step towards qualifying for his first Olympics on an action-packed day at the ICF canoe slalom world cup in Markkleeberg, Germany, on Saturday.

Funk smashed a world-class field to win the women’s K1 final by more than three seconds, and in doing so earned Olympic qualification to the German team. The selection will be finalised if Germany earns a Tokyo quota at next month’s ICF world championships.

“Four years ago I was really nervous and I really messed up my Olympic qualifications,” Funk said.

“This is why it means so much more for me. It will be great. I don’t want to be happy too early, but this is a good position to start.”

Funk’s time was 95.27, with Australia’s reigning world champion, Jessica Fox, second in 99.02. The bronze went to Italy’s Stefanie Horn in 99.62.

Competition for the one available Olympic berth on the Slovakian men’s C1 team, one of the most hotly contested positions in the sport, began this weekend in Markkleeberg, and it was Alexander Slafkovsky who landed the first blow by winning Saturday’s world cup final.

Slafkovsky, 2016 Olympic silver medalist Matej Benus and two-time Olympic gold medalist Michal Martikan will battle it out over four events to determine who will go to Tokyo. Slafkovsky is the only member of the trio never to have been to the Olympics.

“This is why it is so emotional for me, it is probably the last chance for me to go to the Olympics,” Slafkozsky said.

“I’m really happy that I made the first step, but there is way too long to go still. This is the first step of the journey.”

Slafkovsky posted a time of 92.54, to finish 1.79 seconds ahead of Slovenia’s Luka Bozic, with Germany’s Franz Anton third in 94.43. Anton kept his Olympic dreams alive by finishing ahead of teammate Sideris Tasiadis, with the battle for Germany’s quota to be decided at the world championships.

RESULTS

MEN’S C1

  1. SLAFKOVSKY Alexander (SVK) 92.54
  2. BOZIC Luka                       (SLO) 94.33
  3. ANTON Franz                   (GER) 94.43

WOMEN’S K1

  1. FUNK Ricarda                   (GER) 95.27
  2. FOX Jessica                       (AUS) 99.02
  3. HORN Stefanie                 (ITA)  99.62

Find full results here

Pics by Balint Vekassy

Slovakia Alexander Slafkovsky Markkleeberg 2019

Canoe Slalom
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