Two 23-year-olds upstaged their more fancied rivals to claim International Canoe Federation world championship canoe slalom titles in Bratislava on Sunday.

Germany’s Elena Apel celebrated her first international win of her career to take the women’s C1 title, while Czech Vaclav Chaloupka added the men’s C1 world title to his world and European U23 world titles.

It was another day of high drama, with the Olympic champion, reigning world champion and the 2021 world cups champion all missing the women’s C1 final. It left the door open for Apel, who won silver in the women’s K1 on Saturday, to secure the biggest win of her career.

For the second time this weekend Australian Jessica Fox picked up a 50-second penalty for missing a gate in the semi-final, this time in the Olympic gold medal event in which she has been world champion four times.

Incredibly Apel was one of only two athletes to attract a penalty in the final. But even with an added two seconds, the German finished 0.31 seconds ahead of Olympic silver medalist Mallory Franklin of Great Britain.

“I thought it would be close, I thought in my mind that maybe it was going o be enough to win,” Apel said.

“It’s amazing, I can’t believe it, that I put down solid runs and fast runs in both categories, and it makes me really proud. I made so much effort this whole year, and I’m so happy I could bring it all together on the final run.”

The bronze medal went to 19-year-old Czech paddler Gabriela Satkova.

Vaclav Chaloupka was one of only two athletes to post a clean run in the men’s C1 final, which made the difference in the final standings. Five other athletes posted quicker raw times, but penalties robbed them of the gold.

“This is actually crazy, I still don’t know what just happened,” Chaloupka said.

“I tried to put down the best run I could, and it went perfectly to be honest. I mean the clean part, I thought I could go faster, but as we can see, it was enough.

“I was watching with four athletes to go, and three of them were world champions, and the other was Sasha, so I was thinking it would be okay to be fifth. But everyone is human, and everyone can make a mistake. I went clean, and that is an important part of canoe slalom.”

Slovakia’s Alexander Slafkovsky, in possibly his final international appearance, posted the fastest raw time, but a two-second penalty relegated the 38-year-old to silver.

Germany’s 2018 world champion, Franz Anton, finished in third position.



  1. APEL Elena (GER) 99.03 (2 seconds penalties)
  2. FRANKLIN Mallory (GBR) 99.34 (0)
  3. SATKOVA Gabriela (CZE) 102.50 (0)


  1. CHALOUPKA Vaclav (CZE) 92.02 (0)
  2. SLAFKOVSKY Alexander (SVK) 92.17 (2)
  3. ANTON Franz (GER) 94.10 (2)

Pics by Dezso Vekassy

Czech Vaclav Chaloupka Bratislava C1

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