Solkan (25/08/2016) - The first day of the 2016 ECA Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom European Championships did not bring many surprises as the main favourites for the top positions advanced from heats to the semi-final stage of the competition. It was not easy for all the favourites, because they did some mistakes in their first qualification run and therefore looked for another opportunity in the second run.

Competitors in women’s and men’s canoe and men’s kayak showed their form in sunny Solkan during the first day. It was Kimberley Woods (GBR) who set the fastest time in women’s U23 canoe – the first event of the championships. Despite two penalty seconds she was still almost a second faster than her compatriot Jasmine Royle, while Cecile Tixier (FRA) finished the first day in a third place.

Cedric Joly (FRA) stopped the clock at 101.49 to win the men’s U23 canoe heats, ahead of Florian Breuer (GER) and Kirill Setkin (RUS). French competitor was the most successful also in the men’s U23 kayak heats. Clement Travert crossed the finish line three seconds faster than Maciej Okreglak, Polish Rio 2016 Olympian, while another French representative Pol Oulhen finished the first stage of the championships in a third place.

Majority of the favourites already advanced to the semi-final after their first run, but this was not the case for Viktoria Wolffhardt (AUT) and Eilidh Gibson (GBR) in women’s C1, for Ryan Westley (GBR), Raffaello Ivaldi (ITA) in men’s C1 and Jakub Grigar (SVK) in men’s kayak. All the mentioned competitors advanced to the semi-final after their second run. Wolffhardt won the second qualification run, Gibson was third, Ryan Westley produced much better second run to finish it ahead of Russian Shkliaruk and Italian Ivaldi, while Jakub Grigar – fifth placed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – secured himself a semi-final place with second position in the second run.

In the afternoon part of the programme junior C1W, C1M and K1M heats have been held. Klara Olazabal (ESP) produced the best run to win in women’s canoe event. Fanchon Janssen (FRA) was more than three seconds behind and Sona Stanovska (SVK) was third after the first run. Reigning junior world champion in men’s C1 Marko Mirgorodsky (SVK) finished the first stage of the championships ahead of two Italians Carlo Bullo and Mandi Mandia. In the last event of the day Lukas Stahl (GER) won the men’s K1 junior heats. Felix Oschmautz (AUT) and Jakob Weger (ITA) were just behind him as only 0.43 seconds divided the top three competitors.

On Friday the championships continues with heats in women’s junior and U23 kayak events and men’s C2 junior and U23 events. In the afternoon the first medals will be awarded in team events when those competitors who had individual heats today will already fight for the European Champion titles in team events on the Soča River.

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Canoe Slalom