When Slovenian Peter Kauzer edged out home-town favourite Jiri Prskavec for gold at the opening ICF canoe slalom world cup in Prague, the Czech joked he would seek revenge at Kauzer’s home course in Tacen.

On Saturday Prskavec made good his promise, silencing a raucous Slovenian crowd by laying down a near-perfect run that even at his very best Kauzer would struggle to top. Prskavec was at his peak, the sort of form that took him to Olympic gold in Tokyo last year.

But to get to the top of the podium in Tacen 29-year-old Prskavec had to do something he had never done before. Win a world cup final at a venue other than Prague.

Prskavec last year became an Olympic champion in Tokyo; he won ICF world titles in London and in La Seu; he won European titles in Krakow, Vienna and Liptovsky Mikulas. He even won overall world cup titles in 2018 and 2019.

But his four world cup gold medals all came in Prague. Until Saturday.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, now it’s come,” Prskavec said.

“I guess I needed that one win, so now it has happened I will maybe have more wins outside of Prague.”

Despite not having won world cup gold this year, it hasn’t been a bad year for Prskavec. He won European gold, robbed himself of a certain medal with a careless gate touch in Prague, and then finished a close third in Krakow last weekend.

So his form wasn’t keeping him awake at night, and neither was his previous lack of success in Tacen. And he can now head to Augsburg and this year’s ICF world championships in winning form.

“I know perhaps there are some faster paddlers here in Tacen, I know it’s not my best course, but I love to race here and I’m super happy that I put down such a good run,” he said after Saturday’s win.

“I’ve been quite happy with my racing, it’s been a good season so far, I can’t argue.

“Definitely it’s nice to see that I’m fast enough, but Augsburg is a special course and I’ll have to train there for a little bit to try and get the flow and learn how to gain some time.”

Pics by Balint Vekassy

Czech Jiri Prskavec Tacen 2022

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