Savšek stays king of Pau, Hilgertova continues successful family tradition

10 meses ago 0

The first individual finals of the 2019 ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Pau, France, brought excitement and great racing. In the first individual final of the championships Slovenian Benjamin Savšek took the win in men’s C1 final, while young Czech kayaker Amalie Hilgertova won the European Champion title in women’s kayak final.

21-year-old Czech paddler Amalie Hilgertova took the surprising win in women’s kayak event. She was 0.19 seconds faster than British representative Mallory Franklin in second place, and German paddler Jasmin Schornberg won bronze medal.

The win was surprising for the new Champion too, as she just could not believe once the last competitior crossed the finish line what she managed to do, “I still cannot believe it. The run was perfect. When I saw the time I could not believe I was so fast. At the end is this result, which is just crazy!”

Amalie comes from the well-known Czech canoeing family, but she says winning medals does not just run in the blood or comes easily, “I don’t think that’s in the blood. I had to fight with my head for quite a long time. In 2013 when I won Junior World Championships in Liptovsky Mikulaš, I wasn’t really ready for that mentally, so after that I struggled for a long time and I finally found the way back, so I hope the next medal won’t take so long.”

The defending champion Ricarda Funk from Germany actually had the fastest run of this final, but made a mistake that cost her additional 50 seconds, so the chances of defending her title were gone.

There were far less surprises in men’s canoe final. Benjamin Savšek won the second gold medal for Slovenia at this championships. He produced the best run of all to continue his winning streak at the course in Pau. At the last major canoeing competition held at this course – the 2017 ICF Canoe Slalom World Championships – he also showed the best run to win the World Champion title. This is his second individual gold medal at European Championships. Savšek was the fastest already in 2015 at European Championships in Markkleeberg.

“It was really nice, fast and clean run. The bottom part was really hard, I was just looking forward to the finish and pushing as hard as I could. I am really happy to be European Champion. I like this course, I like to race here and I will have good memories from this venue,” said Savšek after adding individual gold medal to his team gold medal he won on Friday with his teammates Luka Božič and Anže Berčič.

Martin Thomas from France came very close to Savšek, but was 0.79 seconds behind so he took the silver medal for the host nation. Sideris Tasiadis from Germany was third.

On Sunday European Championships will close with semi-final and final races in women’s canoe and men’s kayak events.

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