The international season got underway for the British team last weekend in Pau, France at the ECA European Championships. Having spent a lot of time there in 2017 and with the Lee Valley World Cup (next round of Olympic selection) on the horizon, we chose to not spend as much time out there in advance as usual for a European Championships. Despite that, the team performed very well and our club paddlers look in good shape for the season ahead.
Heats at the European Championships is no gimmy. Less places are available in the semi-finals as there are at an ICF race. Athletes are always very keen to progress on first runs as the 2nd heat run is always fiercely contested. In the C1m, Adam posted a comfortable top ten time to go through. Joe Clarke smashed the K1m field by over 3 seconds, but unfortunately for Chris Bowers he had to race again.
In the heats, Adam Burgess progressed through with a comfortable top ten showing off a little bit of style in the process. Joe Clarke smashed the K1m field by over 3 seconds, but unfortunately Chris Bowers who had to race the 2nd runs missed out by one place! He had picked up 4 seconds in penalties too so easily showed enough pace to have qualified without. In very good company though as is the nature of this tough Euros qualification. Lots of big names missing out including local favourite in C1m and Olympic Champion Denis Gargaud-Chanut.
Adam continued to look solid in the semi-final producing another clean run to place 2nd. He then improved by 2 seconds in the final but unfortunately picked up a two-second penalty on the upstream gate 16 which pushed him off the podium into 5th place. This prevented a rare situation where Adam would have actually tied with Germany’s Sideris Tasiadis to share the 3rd step on the podium! A very promising start to the season though, looking very in control and taking the honours out of the British boys. This was the first time all 3 C1m have faced off since September last year and with Olympic selection commencing in two weeks this is a good early sign!
Joe looked rock solid again in the semi-finals and progressed to the final in 3rd place including a touch. Paddling with such a presence now where he always looks like he will put a run down! Joe was the fastest down the course again in the final (that’s 3 rounds out of 3!) but unfortunately touched the same upstream as Adam which cost GB another medal, this time Joe finished in 4th. 6th, 5th and 4th for Joe now in the last 3 European Championships, will we see him on the podium next year in Lee Valley?
Everyone’s attention has already switched back to Lee Valley now. A home World Cup, and important points up for grabs in the Olympic selection series.
See the full results here
Words – Adam Burgess
Images – Kim Jones (not taken at Pau)